Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A flipped house divided?

AND A MERRY CHRISTMAS to the University of Akron , which could use a little extra cheer these days in the wake of  the indictment on ethics charges  of a member of UA's Board of Trustees.  We're talking, of course, about Atty. Jack Morrison. a political powerhouse in the realm of the Summit County Republican Party who now faces seven counts, all misdemeanors, of  trespassing on the state's ethics laws.  Since the Summit Count Grand Jury returned the indictment, the University has been officially silent in what UA spokesman Ken Torisky described to me as "a kind of waiting game" until the case plays out. But it can't be all that pleased with this kind of attention.

In short, Morrison  is accused of profiting from the sale of a  house to the University in the neighborhood where a new athletic stadium is being built,  a transaction involving his lawyer son that netted about $33,000, or 40 pct. profit during the short flipping  period that it was in the family.    Ethical or unethical, I'll let the court decide.  But if you want to raise suspicion of a conflict of interest, there's no easier way to do it than to sit on a university board while the family is turning a dollar.  Morrison, you should know, denies that any of this was off the books.  But the indictment says he engaged in "an unlawful interest in a public contract" and filed a "false" financial statement with the Ohio Ethics Commission.

 Morrison is the lawyer for the County GOP and sits on the State Republican Committee.  You can be sure that the two sides will have a lot more to say about this when it goes to trial.  The arraignment was set for 8 a.m. Dec. 31. in the courthouse annex at which time a trial date will be set.

Meantime,  there may be a subtext on another sticky  matter involving Morrison, who is the law director of Munroe Falls.  A former Munroe Falls Councilman, Bentley Hudson, will take up the question before the council on how Morrison managed to import tons of landscaping granite rocks and sandstone from city property to the lawyer's new home that was under construction on Silver Lake last summer.  "I'm going to be asking a lot of questions about that at the council meeting Monday,  Hudson says.  You'd have to assume that with Jack Morrison, life must never be dull. 



1 comment:

John Doe said...

Abe. Some of the more interesting things are yet to show themselves towards this ethically challanged individual, and it does not look nice either.