Ohio lawmaker Cliff Hite pressed staffer for sex, investigation found

Published: Saturday, October 28, 2017 @ 6:48 PM


            Former Ohio Sen. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay.
Former Ohio Sen. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay.

Findlay Republican Cliff Hite resigned earlier this month from the state senate after being accused of sexually harassing a Legislative Service Commission employee, according to commission investigatory records obtained by this newspaper.

The female staffer claims she refused Hite’s repeated advances but he told her he could not stop thinking about her and needed a “f—k buddy,” the investigation report states.

The staffer told investigators that Hite said he had an affair before and had a condo so no one would ever know, the report states. Hite allegedly said he was “a grown man with needs” and needed oral sex, the investigation report states.

Hite, in a formal response to the commission about the complaint, said he disagreed with many of its representations, which he said were misunderstood or portrayed inaccurately.

“I did not understand or believe that my comments and actions were offensive to the complainant, and it is now deeply troubling to read that she felt otherwise, said Hite, who noted that he is a married man, father and grandfather.

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On Oct. 11, the female staffer reported a sexual harassment complaint to her supervisors against Hite.

Hite first started talking to her in August in the statehouse parking garage, the report states.

During a second meeting in the garage, Hite allegedly complimented her outfit. The staffer added Hite on Facebook after he sent her a friend request, but she later blocked him, saying that his messages were inappropriate, the report states.

The staffer said Hite made crude comments to her and she told him no eight or more times during the conversation.

The woman also said Hite had told her “you have no idea how much I can please you,” and “you have no idea how good I’ll be,” the report states.

Hite allegedly stopped by the staffer’s office multiple times throughout August and September to check in to see if she would change her mind about sexual relations, the report states. Hite allegedly invited her to his condo and physically hugged her.

The staffer met and shared her encounters with Hite with human resources staff but did not want them to take action.

Hite allegedly continued to come to her office and promsied to please her and that no one would find out and that he would stay married and she would stay engaged, the report states.

On Oct. 10, Hite allegedly hugged the staffer and was “nose to nose begging her to get together with him,” the report states. The following day, Hite sent her flowers and then propositioned her again.

Hite resigned Oct. 16. He acknowledged in a public statement that he had

Hite, who resigned Monday, acknowledged in a statement Wednesday that he had “inappropriate conversations” with a female state worker.

“After we met, I sometimes asked her for hugs and talked with her in a way that was not appropriate for a married man, father, and grandfather like myself,” Hite wrote. “Beyond those hugs, there was no inappropriate physical conduct. I recognized that this was inappropriate behavior. She deserves more respect than that and so does my wife.”

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Dayton Commissioner Joey Williams to resign 4 months after re-election

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 5:55 PM

Joey Williams resigns

Less than four months after winning re-election, long-time Dayton City Commissioner Joey Williams tonight announced he is stepping down, effective Friday.

The 52-year-old Williams, the top vote-getter in the Dayton commission race in November, has served on the body since 2002. But tonight’s city commission meeting will be his last as an elected Dayton leader.

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Williams said he ran for re-election last year expecting to complete his full four-year term, but his work responsibilities have grown so much since being named the new Dayton market president of KeyBank. KeyBank publicly announced his hiring about two days after the election.

Williams said he quickly realized that the amount of travel involved in his new role would be difficult to juggle with his commission duties.

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He said he typically missed a few commission meetings each year. Since November, Williams said he has been missing at least one meeting each month.

“It’s really not fair to the community if I can’t put the proper time and effort into the job,” he said. “I had no idea this job was in my future.”

Williams also told this news organization that his new job creates more potential for conflicts of interest since he’s more heavily involved with bank activities and its customers.

The city will host a special municipal election during the primary election on May 8, which is 76 days away.

To fill vacancies, the commission determines by ordinance a special election that must take place 60 to 90 days after the vacancy occurs, according to city charter.

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Dayton residents who want to replace Williams will need to collect at least 500 signatures of registered electors by March 9, which is 60 days before the election, according to the city charter .

If the city had to host a special election just to fill Williams’ vacant seat, it would cost more than $100,000, said Steve Harsman, deputy director of the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

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But costs should be minimal — perhaps $6,000 to $8,000 — if the race is placed on the May 8 primary election ballot, Harsman said.

Williams said the timing of his departure is intended to avoid a special election.

“I didn’t want the community to have to have a special election as a result of me having to resign,” Williams said. “I wanted to do it at a time that corresponded with a primary or general election.”

Williams’ colleagues on the commission praised his contributions and leadership.

“When (people) go back and look at the history of the city the last decade and more, they are going to point to you as maybe the main reason we as a commission was able to lead and bring the city out of one of the worst crises we’ve ever seen,” said Commissioner Matt Joseph.

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Funk legend and member of Ohio Players dies

Published: Thursday, February 16, 2017 @ 4:00 PM

Dayton is considered the Land of Funk. Here is why. Video by Amelia Robinson

A legendary member of the Ohio Players has died, according to news reports and a post on his official Facebook page from his daughter.

Walter “Junie” Morrison, a noted producer, keyboardist and singer, is credited with writing The Ohio Players major hits “Pain,” “Pleasure”, “Ecstasy” and “Funky Worm.”

Morrison, a Dayton native, was 62. 

Photos of Walter "Junie" Morrison from the Dayton Daily News archive at Wright State University.

>>MORE: Funk Music Hall of Fame opening in downtown Dayton after long battle

>>MORE: 8 Dayton acts you should give a funk about

“Dear friends and colleagues, we lost another great one. I’m sure you can agree that Junie will be greatly missed. I wasn’t around my father much, but somehow I am like him in so many ways. In that regard, thank you for your support and respect of our privacy during this time,” Akasha Morrison wrote.

Morrison was a 1997 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and was also co-creator, writer and producer of “One Nation (Under A Groove)” and “(Not Just) Knee Deep” by Parliament Funkadelic, according to juniemorrison.com.

In the 1970s and 1980s, southwestern Ohio — particularly Dayton’s west side — was known for its stable of funk bands whose influence can be heard in hip-hop, house and other musical forms popular today.

Morrison inspired singer Solange’s recent song “Junie” on her 2016 “A Seat at the Table” album.

Gregory Webster, the original leader of the Ohio Players, said Morrison, who was hired into The Ohio Players shortly after he graduated from Roosevelt High School.

“He was really friendly,” Webster said of Morrison. “He was young, but we got him together.”  

Longtime WDAO radio show host John “Turk” Logan said “Pain” — a song Morrison wrote, produced and played most of the instruments on — was the first “funky” song from a Dayton group that he played.

Logan managed Morrison for a short time after he left the Ohio Players.

Photos of Walter "Junie" Morrison from the Dayton Daily News archive at Wright State University.

“Junie was an extraordinary talent. The guy had a sixth sense about the music business,” said Logan, a 1968 Roosevelt graduate. “Junie was a handful because he was a genius.”

>> MORE: Ohio Players frontman Leroy ‘Sugarfoot’ Bonner dies

>> MORE: Ohio Players' bassist Marshall "Rock" Jones dies

Dayton musician Ronald Frost of the band The Deele said Morrison was a critical member of The Ohio Players.

“When Junie came, that’s when they became extra funky,” Frost said. 

Frost’s father Ronald “Nooky” Nooks played with The Ohio Players sometimes after Morrison left the band in 1974 for a solo career.

He released three solo albums on Westbound Records.

Frost was a big fan of Morrison’s work. 

“Junie was just a different kind of musician. He was totally incredible,” Frost said. 

Morrison was induced into the Funk Music Hall of Fame & Exhibition Center based in downtown Dayton last year. 

Hall of Fame president David Webb said Morrison was a great musician who supported preserving funk’s heritage. 

“We are praying for his family,” Webb said.

Response on Facebook to word of the funk legend’s passing was swift. 

“Junie Morrison WAS funk to me and many others,” one comment read.

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Demand in West Dayton for 1,000 housing units, grocery store

Published: Friday, February 16, 2018 @ 12:16 PM


            DeSoto Bass Courts public housing has about 354 housing units in West Dayton. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
DeSoto Bass Courts public housing has about 354 housing units in West Dayton. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Greater Dayton Premier Management, the local public housing authority, is working on a plan to improve conditions and the housing stock in a poor part of West Dayton where more than 6,000 residents live.

GDPM is targeting five neighborhoods west of Interstate 75 and south of U.S. 35 that have some rundown and aging public housing facilities and many vacant and abandoned structures.

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There’s demand for up to nearly 1,000 new housing units, including a mix of subsidized, senior, market rate and for-sale units, according to a market study done for the agency.

Residents who live in the area, which is home to the DeSoto Bass Courts and Hilltop Homes, also say they want community gardens, a grocery store, a laundromat and increased police presence and visibility, according to a survey of a public housing residents and some neighbors.

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GPDM’s “transformation plan” will be submitted to the federal government, which in the past has awarded tens of millions of dollars to communities to implement their plans and help pay for new housing, amenities and other investments.

The Trump Administration’s current budget does not have funding for implementation, but even without that money, GDPM hopes to remake this part of Datyon, though likely it would take longer and require some adjustments, agency officials said.

“We have alternate plans for our housing if we are not fortunate enough to receive this Choice Neighborhood funding,” said Jennifer Heapy, CEO of GDPM. “We are still committed to a transformation for that particular part of the city — it’ll just take us longer.”

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Montgomery County joins legal fight against opioid drug companies

Published: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 @ 3:22 PM

Montgomery County joins legal fight against opioid drug companies

Following in the footsteps of the city of Dayton and the state of Ohio, Montgomery County plans to sue drug companies or others that county officials allege helped cause the opioid addiction and overdose epidemic that has ravaged the Dayton region and communities across the country.

At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Montgomery County commissioners announced they have approved an agreement with Motley Rice, one of the nation’s largest plaintiffs’ litigation firms, to take legal action against “individuals and entities related to the marketing, prescribing, distribution or sale of opioids.”

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Montgomery County has hired the firm to investigate and then litigate claims related to the marketing and overprescribing of powerful opioid medications, said Mary Montgomery, chief of civil division of the Montomery County prosecutor’s office.

She said the goal is to hold those people and companies responsible for the opioid crisis accountable for it and try to recover the costs to taxpayers. That includes drug treatment programs, medical care, hospitalizations, law enforcement, prosecution and incarceration, Montgomery said.

Other costs include caring for the children whose parents have died of a drug overdose or who have lost custody because of their drug use, she said.

“Any money recovered will be for treatment programs as well as to reimburse the county for all of the expenses just mentioned,” she said.

Montgomery County has been particularly hard-hit by the opiate crisis, county officials said, noting that between 60 to 70 percent of the bodies in the county morgue last summer were overdose victims.

In 2016, prescribers in the county wrote almost 93 opioid prescriptions for every 100 residents, and there were more opioid prescriptions written each year between 2006 and 2015 than there were people living in the county, said Montomery.

“Nationally, the economic toll of the opioid crisis is estimated to have topped $1 trillion from 2001 to 2017,” she said.

Motley Rice, based in Washington, D.C., is lead counsel in lawsuits filed against pharmaceutical companies by the city of Chicago and Santa Clara County. The firm also represents four states, seven counties and a handful of cities and townships in other opioid-related litigation.

Last year, Santa Clara County, home to Silicon Valley in California, reached a $1.6 million settlement with drug maker Teva over “deceptive” marketing of prescription opioid painkillers, according to Motley Rice.

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Closer to home, the city of Dayton last June announced it was suing more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies, distributors and pain specialists who city officials allege misrepresented the dangers of opioid medications and profited from opioid dependency and use.

This is about basic fairness for Montgomery County taxpayers, and the companies that ignited and fed this deadly epidemic should help clean it up, said Commissioner Dan Foley.

“We believe … that the drug companies have a moral obligation to pay our community back,” Foley said.

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