SIMON LEIS JR.: Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis Jr. doesn’t like speaking under oath in a court of law and is having taxpayers ante up cash to help him avoid it. The Sheriff’s Office recently agreed to settle a federal lawsuit filed by a former Justice Center inmate for $30,000.
The deal stems from an August 2007 incident in which the inmate was shot three times by a pepperball gun at point blank range while already shackled. Although supervisors recommended the corrections officer who shot the inmate undergo counseling sessions, Leis didn’t want her disciplined. That prompted the inmate to file suit. A three-judge panel later rejected Leis’ claim that he had qualified immunity and couldn’t be forced to testify, which caused the crusty sheriff to offer a settlement. We wonder why Leis is so afraid to defend his decision in court? (Loser)
AMOS PROJECT: When the AMOS Project said last fall that a Hamilton County-hired consultant was inflating the number of local residents hired to construct The Banks project, some people were skeptical. Lo and behold, the county’s own recent audit found the clergy group was correct. Of the 642 employees who worked on the massive riverfront project during the last year, just 8.7 percent lived in Cincinnati and 22.1 percent lived in Hamilton County. Because taxpayers are helping foot the bill for the $800 million project, they should expect The Banks developer to hire more local workers and help the economy. It’s time county commissioners enact a stricter hiring policy. (Winner)
RACIAL STRATEGY: We have nothing against Cincinnati City Councilman Cecil Thomas, but we’re glad his campaign for the Democratic nomination for the Hamilton County Commission failed May 4. Thomas, who had never before expressed interest in running for county office, was the subject of a cynical political strategy by local Democratic leaders who figured that the presence of Thomas, an African American, on the ballot would increase black voter turnout in November and give a boost to U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus (D - Price Hill). Although not endorsed before the primary by the party, Thomas was endorsed by Driehaus, Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory and Democratic Party Chairman Tim Burke. Despite the impressive backing, voters saw the ploy for what it was and opted instead for the more experienced Jim Tarbell. (Loser)