Amy Budish, Armond Budish’s wife and co-author, is the “production costs,” i.e. “Elder Productions, LLC” in MetroHealth’s $200,000 no-bid county contract for advertising and appearances on WKYC’s “Golden Opportunties”. Armond Budish has claimed to receive zero income from Elder Productions on his Ohio Ethics Disclosure forms every year since 2005. Ohio Revised.Code 102.02(D) and 2921.13(A)(7) make it a first-degree misdemeanor to knowingly file a false disclosure statement.
MetroHealth, a division of Cuyahoga County, has paid Budish $25,000 quarterly since 2012, the most recent payment being January 13, 2013, three weeks before filing day, February 5. Budish himself has already changed his story on the matter, first saying he would address the obviously corrupt practice if elected, then saying 4 days later he would sever the relationship if elected.
Bob Reid, former Cuyahoga County Sheriff and one of the other candidates for County Executive, has told me that Budish himself has said to Reid that his wife Amy Budish is Elder Productions. No one at WKYC will confirm anything other than that Amy Budish is at the station on occasion. One of Budish’s other advertisers told me on the phone their contact for “production” at Golden Opportunities is Budish himself.
Perhaps there is some shell game beyond this already labyrinthine maze that somehow translates into this sham being legal. If so, then the problem isn’t what’s illegal, the problem is what’s legal. I have called on County Executive Ed FitzGerald to void this contract immediately. My last name is a punch line because of practices like this. This rigged game of sitting elected officials, media, and county taxpayer money must come to an end.
John Kasich will not let this slide in November. Democrats have a chance to reject how money governs us, and begin to govern ourselves again in Cuyahoga County on May 6. So let’s do it.