Updated 9/27/18 4:40 am…to include legal ruling from the United States Supreme Court case decided on 6/28/96.
Thanks to Lobbyists Arzella and John for the heads up on this issue.
This is the first of a three part expose on Lake County Commissioner Daniel Troy.
The business of politics is not for the faint-hearted. Let us “pull back the curtain” on something that just happened in Lake County – we refer to it as the Rider Inn Affair.
The Lake County Port Authority, a supposedly independent Lake County organization, scheduled their quarterly luncheon at the Rider’s Inn last week. It seems that this did not sit well with Commissioner Dan Troy, and he used a modified version of the “Golden Rule” to rectify an unforgivable sin by the Inn’s management. Their egregious error? Oh, the humanity – they had the unmitigated gall to have signage promoting Republican candidates. Would you believe that they had (2) Ron Young signs (running against Troy for Commissioner), and (1) Pat Condon for Judge?
Commissioner Troy showed that he is no one to mess with…..it appears that he believes that “he who has the gold, makes the rules.” Troy, showing his adroitness, using his trusty IPAD as his weapon of choice, sent the following email to Mark Rantala, Executive Director of the Lake County Port Authority:
From: “Troy, Daniel” <Daniel.Troy@lakecountyohio.gov>
Date: September 9, 2018 at 12:27:43 AM EDT
To: “Rantala, Mark” <MRantala@lcport.org>, “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>
Cc: “Boyd, Jason” <Jason.Boyd@lakecountyohio.gov>, “Matas, Michael” <Michael.Matas@lakecountyohio.gov>
Subject: Port Authority Events
It is my humble suggestion that the Port Authority cease having events at commercial establishments that are openly promoting political candidates through clearly visible signage displayed on their property. As a member of the Port’s primary funding authority, and as a target of such political promotion, I find this personally insulting and totally lacking in acceptable protocol. I expect the Lake County Port Authority to act accordingly in cancelling any future usage of this establishment for future activities.
Sincerely, Commissioner Daniel P. Troy
Sent from my iPad
Did you catch the bullying tactics of Commissioner Troy?……”As a member of the Port’s primary funding authority”..…..[read: I am very important, and I control the purse strings, without me you would be out of a job] Also forget the first amendment rights of the Rider Inn’s owners, it appears that takes a back seat during the election season.
So what was Mr. Rantala’s response to Commissioner Troy‘s not so veiled threat?
From: “Rantala, Mark” <MRantala@lcport.org>
Date: September 10, 2018 at 1:27:08 PM EDT
To: “Troy, Daniel” <Daniel.Troy@lakecountyohio.gov>
Cc: Art Lindrose <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: RE: Port Authority Events
Dan – thanks for bringing this to our attention. Your point is well taken. The Port Authority does try to maintain a neutral position. This is the first time this has come up related to a Port Authority event. We are going to try to change the venue for our Quarterly luncheon. And it is something we will do our best to avoid in the future – especially during election season. It was not an intentional choice, we just didn’t consider the politics of the facilities owner.
Lake County Ohio Port and Economic Development Authority
Shaping the Future of Lake County
Visit our website – www.lcport.org
440.357.2290 x 232
1 Victoria Place Suite 265A
Painesville, OH 44077
We cannot blame Mr. Rantala, he has bills to pay like all of us. However, it is amazing to think that part of his future decision making process is considering the politics of the facility owner. We may be radical in our thinking, but we think that the quality of the food, and the cost should be the primary factors.
We wonder if Troy will require Mr. Rantala to have background checks on all facility owners going back to their high school years? Perhaps Commissioner Troy may wish to consider a resolution ensuring that all Lake County establishments hang a sign to inform the world if the owners are liberals or conservatives.
To avoid Troy‘s wrath in the future, perhaps the Port Authority should have their meeting in their offices and bring in a pizza from pizza establishment pre-approved by Commissioner Dan Troy.
Update: We received a notification that there MAY have been a violation of a Federal law since there seems to be a legal precedence set in the U.S. Supreme Court case #94-1654 decided on June 28, 1996 – Board of Commissioners of Wabaunsee County, Kansas versus Umbehr.
Board of Commrs v Umbehr
Here is the correspondence sent to the owners of the Rider’s Inn:
Riders Inn situation:
One of the main US Supreme Court cases on the issue of freedom of association and freedom of speech and government contracting is Board of Commissioners v. Umbehr, which I have attached as a PDF. In this court case, the US Supreme Court held that the First Amendment prohibits the termination of government contracts (even at-will contracts) in retaliation for their exercise of freedom of speech. Certainly displaying a candidate’s campaign sign is an expressive act and I believe protected by the First Amendment.
LFC hopes that Commissioner Troy has not put the taxpayers in a vulnerable position regarding possible litigation.
Ladies and gentlemen, when we report with total transparency, you see the real thought process of our politicians as they wield the power of their office.
Tomorrow, we will continue to “pull back the curtain” – this time on the Campaign Finance Reports of Commissioner Daniel Troy from 2005 – 2018…….we follow the money and document the results, you get to decide….
Update: We did receive a question asking if we are going to publish the Campaign Finance Reports of Commissioners Cirino and Hamercheck. The answer is, of course, YES. No one gets a pass from LFC.