October 30th, 2013 By German Lopez | News | Posted In: 2013 Election, Mayor, News

Cranley Helped Paycor Move 450 to 500 Jobs out of Cincinnati

Mayoral candidate represented company as it moved headquarters to Norwood

john cranleyMayor John Cranley - Photo: Provided

As an attorney and lobbyist at Keating, Muething & Klekamp (KMK), mayoral candidate John Cranley helped payroll company Paycor finalize plans to move its headquarters — and 450 to 500 jobs with it — from Queensgate in Cincinnati to Norwood, Ohio.

Specifically, KMK helped Paycor and Norwood set up a tax credit deal to incentivize the company’s relocation. Throughout the process, the law firm called on several of its employees, including Cranley, to help with the negotiations.

For Paycor, the move comes after more than two decades in Cincinnati. The company originally looked in Cincinnati for bigger headquarters with better parking options, but ultimately couldn’t find a location to its liking, according to a May 2012 memo from the city manager. So when Paycor found a location outside city limits and worked out a tax incentive package with Norwood and Ohio, it decided to move.

Cities and states often deploy incentive packages, ranging from property tax abatements to deductions on income taxes, to attract and retain companies. Pure Romance, a $100-million-plus “relationship enhancement” company, recently agreed to move from Loveland, Ohio, to downtown Cincinnati after securing such a tax deal with the city.

Paycor broke ground on its new headquarters in December and plans to move there next spring.

The transition will pull 450 to 500 employees out of Cincinnati, and the company plans to add another 250 to 300 employees over time at its new facilities.

Cranley campaign manager Jay Kincaid says Cranley and KMK won’t comment on the details of their work with Paycor or other clients for ethical reasons. But Kincaid says Cranley was just doing his job after Paycor went to KMK, not the other way around.

“In the legal profession you’re asked to represent clients, and you do it to the best of your ability,” Kincaid says. “At the time I don’t think (Cranley) was even running for office. The firm came to him and said, ‘Hey, we have a job that we need you to work on.’ And he did the work, just like anyone else would at their job.”

Norwood City Council approved the deal with Paycor on Oct. 23, 2012. Cranley announced his mayoral campaign three weeks later, on Nov. 14.

Cranley’s critics argue that a mayoral candidate shouldn’t be helping companies leave the city he wants to lead.

“It is disappointing that John (Cranley) helped Paycor leave the city with its over 450 tax-paying jobs. His efforts undercut the city’s efforts to retain jobs and businesses,” said Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, who is running against Cranley, in an emailed statement.

The move comes despite Cincinnati’s various attempts to hang on to Paycor, including previous tax deals. In 2001, then-Councilman Cranley and the rest of City Council approved tax incentives to keep the company in Cincinnati, retain its 142 jobs at the time and create another 25. The city administration estimated the deal would cost the city $225,750 and generate $546,000 in net tax revenue over five years.

In 2006, Cranley and seven council members approved another incentive package to further secure Paycor’s stay in Cincinnati.

But the deals also required Paycor to remain in Cincinnati through 2015. Since Paycor’s move violates the agreement, the city administration says it plans to claw back some of the tax benefits given to the company.

In other words, Cranley in 2001 and 2006 approved tax deals with Paycor that the company, with his help, is now set to break.

City spokesperson Meg Olberding says the clawback process will begin after Paycor moves to Norwood in 2014. So if Cranley is elected by voters on Nov. 5, he would be mayor as the city is taking back some of the money it gave away.

Although the city is taking a hit, Cranley’s relations with the payroll company appear unscathed. Paycor CEO Bob Coughlin contributed $1,100 to Cranley’s campaign on Aug. 20, according to campaign finance reports.

Updated with more details about the tax deals between Cincinnati and Paycor.

10.30.2013 at 03:42 Reply



10.30.2013 at 09:41

Seriously?  So when Norwood moved Cinergy jobs TO Cincinnati, (breaking their deal with Norwood) who got the "credit" for that move, CintiBeat?  The REAL question should be.. why the hell didn't anyone with the city notice this BEFORE a week before the elections?  If Qualls was doing a good job, and this REALLY was a SERIOUS issue, it would have been brought up before now. It's not - it's an election 'scandal' designed to continue these nasty campaign.  No one with half a brain is falling for this crap.


10.30.2013 at 04:32 Reply

Its not like Norwood is in China.  My family is from Norwood so I am biased Norwood but  we're talking maybe 10 miles from downtown?  Most of those employees will probably still live in Cincinnati, pay cincinnati taxes and contribute to the local economy.  I know its a loss for the city but the fact that this is a article seems like a stretch to me.  


10.30.2013 at 09:21 Reply

They don't pay taxes in Cincinnati. 


10.30.2013 at 11:45 Reply

German Lopez drops the mike, and walks off the stage.

John Cranley is done. 


10.31.2013 at 01:50 Reply

This is truley a non-issue from the standpoint of "was Cranley to blame." He was not to blame. Paycorp had great reasons for going to that site whether Cranley helped them or not. They are building their own empire there and Norwood happened to have the land in there main district to develop it from the ground up. It's a perfect location for their intended goals. If you want to piss on someone, make it the CEO, as it was Paycor execs who fell in love with this location. KMK just happen to be the firm that's in bed with a lot of the bigger developers in the region, who own that property. Which this should be a good thing for Cincinnati, should Cranley be elected. He knows all the big players and has worked on the deals to make them happen. All Roxanne has done is push the poor out of OTR.