Luckie, prosecutor confirm investigation; 2 Democrats say he won't seek re-election

Published: Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 7:27 PM
Updated: Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 7:27 PM

            In this file photo: Clayton Luckie, D, 39th District, left, with his wife Lisa looking on, right, is sworn in by Speaker of the House Jon A. Husted Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2006, in Columbus, Ohio.
            AP Photo/Terry Gilliam
In this file photo: Clayton Luckie, D, 39th District, left, with his wife Lisa looking on, right, is sworn in by Speaker of the House Jon A. Husted Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2006, in Columbus, Ohio.(AP Photo/Terry Gilliam)

State Rep. Clayton Luckie and Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien both issued statements Thursday confirming that the Dayton Democrat is under investigation but not for bribery. But the statements didn’t answer questions about what charges, if any, Luckie may face.

Earlier this year, O’Brien brought a criminal case against Columbus-area state lawmaker W. Carlton Weddington that led to Weddington resigning, cooperating with authorities and pleading guilty to bribery and other charges.

Luckie said in a written statement: “I assure my constituents that I have not been involved in any of that conduct, nor am I the target of said investigation. We have, however, discovered errors on some reports that are currently being addressed. I take these matters very seriously and have instructed my team to conduct a full review of the reports in question. Out of respect for the process, I will not be addressing any questions until my team has completed their analysis.”

It is unclear whether Luckie is referring to ethics statements, campaign finance reports or something else. He did not return messages seeking clarification.

Meanwhile, two Democratic sources said Luckie may agree to withdraw from the November ballot as early as today, giving the Montgomery County Democratic Party just enough time to run a substitute candidate. Former Dayton mayor Rhine McLin and former state senator Fred Strahorn are being considered as possible replacements, sources said. Monday is the deadline for political parties to replace candidates who withdraw from a race.

Montgomery County Democratic Party Chairman Mark Owens said Luckie did not return his messages on Thursday and top party officials researched state law governing replacing candidates on the ballot. “There are some people that have expressed interest (in replacing Luckie in the race) if that were to happen but I’m not prepared to identify those people,” Owens said.

Initially appointed to the Ohio House, Luckie is seeking his fourth two-year term and is running against Republican Jeff Wellbaum this November.

Wellbaum’s campaign manager Paul Harris said, “We are certainly shocked and surprised by the allegations levied toward Rep. Luckie. Our response is to stick to a positive campaign about what Mr. Wellbaum will do for the citizens of the 39th District. Lower taxes, better veterans’ benefits, protecting the unborn and working with Gov. Kasich to bring people and jobs back to Ohio.”

The 39th District includes most of the city of Dayton.

Before going to the Ohio House, Luckie served on the Dayton School Board from 1996 to 2006. He lives in the Wright-Dunbar Historic District and works part-time for JEC Paper & Related Products where he made less than $10,000 last year, according to his financial disclosure statement filed with the state. His state representative job pays $68,000 a year.

In June 2010, Luckie and his wife Lisa Beth Willis filed for divorce just three months after the birth of their daughter. In the May 2011 divorce agreement, Luckie got a 2005 Cadillac Escalade, half of his wife’s 401(k) account and a house in Wright-Dunbar and one in Springboro. The couple agreed to joint parenting and they split up their $56,000 in consumer credit card debt: $36,000 for him, $20,000 for her.

In January 2012, Luckie got into a verbal altercation with his neighbor, Joseph W. Shaw, who is dating his ex-wife, according to a Dayton police report. Lisa Beth Willis said, “I have no comment on that.”

It’s the largest bus contract in RTA’s history: Here's what you need to know

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 12:13 PM
Updated: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 1:01 PM

After nearly three years of testing the NexGen electric trolley Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority is buying 26 of the buses at a cost of about $1.2 million each and will put the first production model on the street by early 2019.

The new NexGen battery-electric trolley buses Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority is purchasing might leave people wondering how a bus with trolley poles can be motoring down the road on its own power without a trolley wire in sight. Here are five things to know about the new buses:

The cost: RTA will buy 26 of the buses for about $1.2 million now and 15 more when federal funding can be lined up. The $57.4 million contract with Kiepe Electric of Georgia for buses and parts is the largest bus contract in RTA history.

The battery:This is not your grandfather’s battery. The NexGen has a 3,000-pound Lithium Titanate Oxide battery with a 12-year lifespan that can power a fully loaded bus at full speed for 15 miles off wire.

A 3,000 pound battery powers the NexGen electric trolley that Greater Dayton RTA will buy to replace its current fleet of ETI trolleys.

Bang for buck:The NexGen trolley bus has a lifespan of 18 to 20 years and 800,000 miles. It costs 63 percent more than a standard diesel bus but lasts longer, is cheaper to operate, is better for the environment and quieter, said Mark Donaghy, RTA executive director.

RELATED: RTA to buy 26 electric trolley buses — at $1.2 million each

Testing: RTA tested four prototypes of the NexGen — which is short for Next Generation —before deciding on the electric-battery version. The first production bus arrives in about 15 months and then RTA hopes to get two a month after that.

Old bus retirement: RTA will eventually retire its fleet of Electric Trolley Inc. buses, which have been on the road since 1998 and plagued by multiple problems over the years.

This aging ETI electric trolley is part of the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority trolley fleet that will be replaced by NexGen battery-electric trolleys. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(File Photo)

RELATED: A High-cost Laboratory

Other vehicle technology stories by Lynn Hulsey

The newest frontier for hackers: your car

Would you ride in a car with a brain?

‘Smart car’ technology may make roads safer, but some fear data hacks

Ohio upgrading its drug tracking database system

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 12:38 PM
Updated: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 12:32 PM

            Ohio upgrading its drug tracking database system
Ohio upgrading its drug tracking database system

Ohio is rolling out the next generation of a powerful prescription drug monitoring system to help fight the opiate addiction crisis, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy announced.

Started in 2006, the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System tracks controlled substances prescribed by doctors, provided by pharmacies and taken by patients. The upgraded version will calculate a patient’s risk for addiction or overdose, provide red flag alerts on potential safety issues, offer real time messaging between health care providers, and include a search tool for drug treatment programs.

RELATED: Your questions answered about Issue 2

Health care providers will be able to access the new, upgraded OARRS system via electronic medical records and the OARRS website starting Nov. 20.

The system is designed to track prescriptions of controlled substances, such as painkillers, and prevent the practices of over-prescribing and “doctor shopping” — where addicts fill opioid prescriptions from several doctors at multiple pharmacies.

In 2006, the top doctor shopper in Ohio received prescriptions from 105 different doctors and filled those at 50 different pharmacies. In 2016, the top doctor shopper received prescriptions from 45 different doctors and filled those at 19 different pharmacies. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy agents investigate such patterns.

RELATED: Issue 2 supporters say opposition is hiding donor info

Likewise, doctors and pharmacies are required to check OARRS before writing or filling certain prescriptions. Physicians and dentists who write controlled substance prescriptions without checking the system are contacted by the Board of Pharmacy.

Beginning at the end of December, doctors will be required to add diagnosis information to OARRS so regulators have a better idea about why patients are being prescribed powerful pain killers.

Ohio congressman leaving office

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 10:23 AM
Updated: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 10:23 AM

Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, attends a news conference after a meeting of the House Republican Caucus in the Capitol, June 10, 2014. Getty Images
Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, attends a news conference after a meeting of the House Republican Caucus in the Capitol, June 10, 2014. Getty Images

Congressman Rep. Pat Tiberi announced Thursday that he will be leaving Congress by the end of next January, capping 16 years representing his central Ohio congressional district.

In a statement released at 10 a.m., Tiberi said he would not be seeking re-election. Instead, he’ll serve as president of the Ohio Business Roundtable.

RELATED: Tiberi decides against Senate run

“It has been the most remarkable honor of my life to serve the people of the 12th District,” he said. “As the son of Italian immigrants, I am forever grateful for the opportunity my parents gave me by coming to America and raising our family in Ohio. It was because of their pursuit of the American Dream that made it possible for me to serve 17 years in the halls of Congress representing my home. This truly is the greatest country in the world.”

He said his new job would allow him “to continue to work on public policy issues impacting Ohioans while also spending more time with my family.” Tiberi and his wife Denice have four daughters.

While the timing of his announcement is unclear, Tiberi, a Genoa Township Republican, plans to leave by the end of next January.

Voters guide: Your best local resource for Election 2017

Find information on races and candidates you care about, by using your location or browsing information on dozens of races and hundreds of candidates.

Tiberi will replace Richard Stoff, the founder and current president of the Ohio Business Roundtable, who announced in July that he was retiring at the end of this year. Stoff’s compensation totaled $692,038 in 2015, according to the group’s IRS filings.

Sources close to Tiberi said a variety of factors played into his exit. His mother died earlier this year and his father is in ill health. House Speaker Paul Ryan last year bypassed Tiberi to select Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, as the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, despite the fact that Tiberi had support from the majority of his colleagues on the Republican Steering Committee.

Another loss: the retirement of House Speaker John Boehner in 2015. The two were close political allies, with Tiberi benefiting politically from his close friendship with the West Chester Republican.

And a dysfunctional political environment in Washington made him “miserable” said a source close to Tiberi.

The veteran congressman, who represents Ohio’s 12th congressional district, had considered running for the U.S. Senate in 2018. He ended that speculation in May, announcing that he didn’t want a Senate campaign to take time away from working on tax reform from his position as a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Tiberi had more than $6.6 million in campaign funds at the beginning of the month.

Tiberi, 54, was elected to the House in 2000, replacing John Kasich, who had once hired him as an aide in Kasich’s congressional office in Columbus. Tiberi, who grew up in Columbus, also served four terms in the Ohio House in the 1990s.

He is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee’s subcommittee on health and is currently chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, a House-Senate committee that examines economic issues. And earlier this year, he became the chairman of the House “Main Street Caucus,” a group of moderate Republicans who billed themselves as the “governing” wing of the Republican Party.

Only two other members of the 16-member Ohio delegation have served longer: Rep. Marcy Kaptur was elected in 1983 and Rep. Steve Chabot in 1995, save for a two-year period when Chabot’s seat was held by a Democrat.

While it’s unclear when Tiberi would vacate his House seat, sources told the Dispatch that it might not be until the end of this year.

Gov. John Kasich, whose term expires in January 2019, is not interested in running for his old House seat, said Chris Schrimpf, his political spokesman.

Tiberi, who won his seat in 2016 with nearly 67 percent of the vote, faces Democrat Ed Albertson and Republican Brandon Grisez if he runs next year.

Tiberi’s decision to leave puts him in a growing club of Republicans who are opting to leave Congress: Reps. Dave Reichert of Washington, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, Dave Trott of Michigan and Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania have announced their plans to leave in recent days, as has Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee.

If Tiberi resigns before the end of his term, special elections, including a primary, would be staged to fill his seat. When Speaker John Boehner of Ohio resigned from his seat in late 2015, it took four and one-half months to stage the March 15, 2016 primary and nearly another three months for the June 7, 2016 election won by Republican Warren Davidson.

The reliably Republican 12th District takes in northern Franklin County suburbs and all of Delaware, Morrow and Licking counties. It includes parts of Marion, Muskingum and Richland counties.

Dispatch reporter Randy Ludlow contributed to this story.

What Ohio lawmakers are saying about the Iran nuclear deal

Published: Friday, October 13, 2017 @ 5:47 PM
Updated: Monday, October 16, 2017 @ 9:04 AM

President Trump Addresses Iran Nuclear Deal

Ohio lawmakers split down party lines Thursday not only on whether President Donald Trump should have refused to certify the Iran nuclear agreement but whether the Obama administration should have backed the deal in the first place.

Rep. Tim Ryan, D–Niles, acknowledged that the pact is not “perfect,” but said it “remains our best chance for lasting peace and nuclear nonproliferation in Iran.” He called Trump’s decision to not certify the agreement “a grave mistake.”

“There is no doubt that this deal is in the best interests of the United States and helps to neutralize a potential nuclear threat to the world,” he said.

He called Trump’s announcement “yet another example of the egregious mismanagement of our foreign policy (that) does nothing to reassure our allies that the United States is leading with a steady hand.”

The decision does not end the agreement outright, but instead sends it to Congress to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran. Ryan called for Congress “to do the right thing” to avoid an international crisis.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D–Ohio, meanwhile, worried that while Trump’s decision doesn’t end the agreement, it could lead to its unraveling. He said failure to adhere to the Iran deal might make allies and North Korea question whether the United States will stand by its commitments.

“There is no question we must crack down on Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region, including its support for terrorism — which is exactly why Congress enacted tough new sanctions this summer,” he said. “The president should use those sanctions, instead of leading us down a path toward unraveling the Iran nuclear agreement, which his own defense secretary has said would not be in our national interest.”

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said the multi-nation agreement under Obama “has empowered Iran to increase its destabilizing activities throughout the region, while at best pausing — not dismantling — Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons and delivery systems.”

Listen to the Buckeye Forum podcast

He said he would like the U.S. to implement a comprehensive regional strategy to combat Iran’s influence “and hold it accountable for both its nuclear program and its destabilizing non-nuclear activities, including its support for sectarian militias and terrorist groups like Hezbollah, human rights violations, and increasing involvement in conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere.”

Republican Rep. Jim Renacci of Wadsworth, one of four GOP candidates for governor, tweeted, “Obama’s disastrous Iran nuclear deal shipped billions to the world’s #1 state sponsor of terrorism & green lighted their nuclear weapons program. It threatens both America’s security & Israel’s existence. Thank you @realDonaldTrump for taking a critical step towards ending it.”

Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Genoa Township, said Trump’s decision should force Congress to develop a strategy “with stricter enforcement to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.”

“The Iranian regime has consistently remained hostile to Israel, violated multiple UN resolutions to build their ballistic missile program, and has posed a wide range of threats to the region and our own national security,” he said.

Rep. Bill Johnson, R–Marietta, said the U.S. should never have agreed to the deal.

“It only temporarily restricts Iran’s nuclear program, and does little to deter Tehran from continuing its thirst for nuclear weapons and technology — all while filling the regime’s coffers,” he said. “Not only has Iran repeatedly displayed a disturbing pattern of behavior while continuing to recruit and fund terrorist groups operating in Syria and Iraq, but the Iranian regime’s continued nuclear testing on military sites also undermines the standards set by the international community to promote security and regional stability.”

Rep. Steve Stivers, R–Upper Arlington, said he, too, was never comfortable with the Iran deal.

“From the very beginning, I had concerns about the Iran Deal because it is based on the failed North Korea Deal and did not include restrictions on the development of technology used to weaponize nuclear energy, such as triggers, fuses, and ballistic missiles,” he said. “I believe this decision will allow a new agreement to be negotiated which will include language to prevent a nuclear armed Iran.”

Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, said the deal had “an insufficient inspection regime, insufficiently addresses long range ICBM missile development, and is limited to 10 years, giving the appearance of permission to develop nuclear weapons during the 11th year.”

However, he said, he believes that Iran is “materially complying with the provisions that require Iran abandon pursuit of the development of nuclear weapons.”

“After the President’s statements today, the international community and Congress must provide sufficient leverage for amending the agreement in ways that could ensure Iran never obtains nuclear weapons,” he said.