Ohio Lt. Governor Mary Taylor is the Ultimate Political Insider
Part 2 – Ohio’s Capital Budget
We have a confession to make here at 3rd Rail Politics. We really, really want to like Mary Taylor and her spunky, hard charging campaign for Governor.
But it’s pretty darn difficult to do so when we know that for the past 7 years she sat by silently as the Kasich/Taylor administration expanded Medicaid, killed charter schools, and spent money like a drunken sailor. At the same time, we have lots and lots of questions about her and her husband’s finances.
For example, when Mary Taylor first went to the Ohio General Assembly in 2001, she listed just one business entity in which her husband had an ownership interest, the Welty Building Company Ltd. In 2006, as she was leaving the legislature and headed to the Auditor of State’s Office she listed seven business entities in which either she and/or her husband had an ownership interest. Finally, her 2016 financial disclosure, her most recent, lists a whopping 43 business entities in which her husband had an ownership interest.
This practice isn’t entirely unusual, no one expects Mr. Taylor to give up his career because of his wife’s. However, when much of the growth of your company has resulted from projects funded by federal, state, and local tax dollars, it certainly deserves a better look than what the traditional media has given it.
Take the Pro Football Hall of Fame project in Canton, Ohio. A recent headline in the Canton Repository shouts that $1 million is coming for the project from the state Capital Budget. That money will be needed too. An article in the same paper from January explains that Welty Building Company still owes seven smaller subcontractors at least $5.7 million for work that they have already done on the project and have never been paid for.
The State of Ohio originally pledged $10 million for the Hall of Fame project. That money was given in the 2014 Capital Budget. So, this is money that is being paid on top of what was already promised and paid. Will this money go towards paying off those liens to these seven local businesses? Let’s hope so.
Or take the new Akron branch of the Stark State College. A recent article from the paper up north points out that $3.4 million from the state Capital Budget is earmarked to complete construction on this project.
Can you guess who the construction manager is? If you said Welty then you are correct. And this is on top of the $6.5 million that was awarded by the Governor and the Ohio General Assembly in 2016 in the previous Capital Budget.
Then there’s another Welty project, the Blossom Music Center. $1.75 million was allocated in Capital Budget dollars in 2014, along with another $750,000 in 2016 andanother $1.3 million for the 2018 Capital Budget.
Don’t forget about the Akron Zoo, still another Welty project. Local taxpayers coughed up most of those construction costs but the State of Ohio still is throwing in some money too. Approximately $500,000 is earmarked for a new exhibit there.
I’m sure that we have missed several big projects. For example, Welty doesn’t break out all of the projects it has done for the University of Akron over the years. We do know from perusing the Ohio Checkbook that Welty has received approximately $3.4 million over the last few months of 2017 directly from Stark State College. We assume that is for their work on the Akron branch project.
Once again, 3rd Rail Politics is not saying that Mary Taylor, her husband Don Taylor, or the Welty Building Company is doing anything either illegal or unethical. But how do you say with a straight face that you are a “political outsider” when your husband’s company has obtained millions in construction contracts funded via Capital Budgets approved and promoted by your administration? What about it Mary?