The presser was held in response to the publication of a Westlake police report earlier in the day which described FitzGerald in his car with a woman who was not his wife at 4:30 a.m. in October, 2012. Though no crime was committed — FitzGerald emphasized repeatedly today that he wasn't even issued a minor traffic citation — the optics certainly are fishy.
"Fishy" is how the 2012 incident was described by Kasey Hagar, the witness who called the police (via @joevardon
at the Columbus Dispatch
). Hagar told police that the car had been there for at least half an hour and was rocking back and forth.
FitzGerald, in the Q&A portion after his prepared remarks, said he couldn't remember how long, exactly, he and Joane Grehan were sitting in the parking lot, but that they were just "getting their bearings" and mapping a route back to Grehan's hotel after being separated from the rest of a trade delegation from Ireland. He refused to even entertain questions relating to the specific nature of the intra-auto activities, other than to say that nothing inappropriate was going on.
Grehan, from Ireland, issued a statement to that effect as well, saying she was "outraged" at the innuendo.
FitzGerald fired back at Republicans for deliberately attempting to impugn his character instead of focusing on the issues. He said he and his team had obtained emails which specifically show Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough (a vocal Republican) asking police personnel to "dig up dirt." He said he's still waiting on further records requests which his staff filed two weeks ago, but intends to take the issue to court.
He also lashed out at Ohio GOP Chairman Matt Borges for messaging him on Twitter with advice to "come clean" to his wife and family.
"If any member of my campaign engaged in that sort of activity," FitzGerald said, "they'd be looking for a job." He said he hopes Governor John Kasich will make a public statement saying he does not condone this sort of behavior. He said that Matt Borges, a man who was convicted of a misdemeanor in 2004 for unauthorized use of public office — Borges gave preferential treatment to certain brokers who had contributed to Republican Ohio Treasurer Joe Deters’ re-election campaign — should never have been hired in the first place.
"I think they knew what they were getting," FitzGerald said.
Fraternal Order of Police President Jay McDonald said he called the officer who'd arrived on scene in 2012 and was satisfied that FitzGerald had treated the officer with respect and that nothing inappropriate or newsworthy was happening. Henry Gomez at the NEOMG has the complete story of the police report here
A testy, disgusted Ed FitzGerald attacked Governor John Kasich, Ohio GOP Chairman Matt Borges, Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough and Republican political operatives statewide for "sleazy' campaign tactics during a press conference this afternoon.