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FitzGerald Withdraws Nominee for Cuyahoga County Treasurer

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 9:31 AM

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Ed FitzGerald talks to county council in March this year. (Nick Castele / ideastream)

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald withdrew his nominee for county treasurer after the Northeast Ohio Media Group raised questions in a Cleveland.com article about properties she owned. ideastream's Nick Castele reports.

Update: FItzGerald defended his nominee for treasurer in an interview with the Northeast Ohio Media Group.

Yesterday, Cuyahoga County Council was supposed to hold a confirmation hearing for Jeannet Wright. She’s acting treasurer, and FitzGerald had nominated her to take the job permanently.

But hours before the meeting, FitzGerald pulled the nomination.

Wright’s candidacy seemed to be coming apart after Cleveland.com published reports suggesting she belatedly disclosed to the county that she was making money as a landlord off several houses she owned. That disclosure is required by county ethics policy.

FitzGerald hasn’t explained his decision in public. And a spokesman for his office didn’t offer many details, saying only they dropped the nomination because they didn’t have the votes in county council.

But council is pointing the finger right back at FitzGerald. Council President C. Ellen Connally, a Democrat, had this to say about the withdrawal.

“It was the executive’s decision to make,” Connally said. “He nominates, he can withdraw.”

And Republican Jack Schron, who’s running to replace FitzGerald, said much the same.

“And he must have looked at it and said that he wanted to withdraw the recommendation that came forward,” Schron said. “So I hope he brings forth another candidate that he’s comfortable with, and we’d be more than happy to look at that candidate when they come forward.”

No one has accused Wright of wrongdoing.

And Wright herself sent a statement to Cleveland.com late Tuesday saying she did disclose rental income earlier this year, but that she also hadn’t been sure if ethics rules about disclosing outside employment applied to landlords.

It’s not the first time a key FitzGerald pick has gone sour. His first running mate in the governor’s race pulled out after reports of unpaid taxes. 

FitzGerald has until mid-July to find a new pick for treasurer.

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