Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Renacci, Mandel: about your friend Suarez

 In case you haven't heard, this isn't the best of times for Ben Suarez, the Canton big- businessman whose  multi-tasking enterprises  range far and wide and include a couple of well- known Ohio Republican pols.

OK.  His company is embroiled in a deepening scandal.

It has reached  the critical point where he must appear in the federal court in Cleveland in a couple of weeks under indictment  to explain why his top company man, Mike Giorgio, has  accused his boss of complicity in a money laundering  scheme  that would reward Ohio Treasurer  Josh Mandel  and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, who represents Suarez's home district, with generous campaign contributions (say, $l00,000 each) if they would intervene in his behalf  in a matter to benefit the company.

In fact, Mandel agreed to intervene and wrote to California treasurer Bill Lockyer  threatening a suit against that state for investigating Suarez for mislabeling supplements  that contained high levels of lead.

Serious?  Giorgio, the chief financial officer of Suarez Corp. Industries,  has already pleaded guilty in the political version of the fair trade act and is awaiting the court's decision on the length of his jail term and the amount of his fine, which could reach six figures.

In a plea deal, Giorgio has accused Suarez of one of the oldest exchanges of political fund-raising,which  had  company employes  apportion donations to Mandel and Renacci and then be reimbursed for  those amounts by Suarez, thus disguising the actual  donor  in the shadows.

That ain't legal.

The SCI lawyers  merely expressed "disappointment" that Giorgio would foul his own nest and insisted in a statement that the company proudly conducts business  with "integrity at all times."

As  for Mandel and Renacci, they quickly scampered to the weed patch and returned the contributions. from the employes.

 Game on.

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