Democratic Columbus City Council President and Mayoral Candidate Andy Ginther yesterday accused the media of misrepresenting the facts of a federal bribery case that links contributions from the former CEO of a red-light camera company to the campaigns of elected officials in Columbus and Cincinnati.
Ginther made his first public comments since Friday, when the U.S. Attorney's office announced former Redflex CEO Karen Finley pleaded guilty to charges of making campaign contributions in exchange for obtaining or maintaining contracts with municipalities. Ginther chose his words carefully when he acknowledged soliciting Redflex in 2011 for a contribution, and saying that request was not honored. Court documents and campaign finance reports show it was honored in a roundabout way. They show after the request was made, a veteran city hall lobbyist, who represented Redflex in the past and who Finley says was a means of making contributions to elected officials, sent a 20 thousand dollar invoice to Finley which she approved. That was called a "success feel." Lobbyist John Raphael then donated 20 thousand dollars to the Ohio Democratic Party. Ten days later, the party donated 21 thousand to Ginther's campaign.
Federal investigators have subpoenaed Ginther, a campaign official, and the state party for any records involving Redflex. Council first approved the Redflex contract in 2006, approved an expansion of the program in 2010, and approved an extention of the contract last year. Ginther says he will fight to clear his name and the reputation of the city. He says he has no plans to heed the call of his Mayoral opponent, Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott, to withdraw from the race.