BUTLER TWP. — Butler Township residents were subjected to what appears to be another political hit job just a week before Tuesday’s election.
The OHPAC for Responsible Government, a political action committee (PAC) previously solely funded by Alex Kolodesh, sent a pair of mailers to residents using the same tired scare tactics used in 2015 to defeat the township’s Limited Home Rule proposal.
Kolodesh is a partner at Singer Properties, the largest developer in the Miller Lane Business District.
We can’t know for sure who is behind the mailing – OHPAC for Responsible Government chose not to file a voluntary pre-election campaign finance report. Under Ohio campaign finance laws, this is legal if the PAC receives contributions and makes expenditures less than 20 days before an election.
Instead, the PAC will be required to file a report within 38 days of the election. That allows OHPAC for Responsible Government contributors to remain hidden until after the election.
We know, however, that Kolodesh was the sole contributor to OHPAC for Responsible Government in 2015. He contributed $7,900 to send out similar mailers to defeat Limited Home Rule a year ago. Kolodesh also gave Trustee Joe Flanagan $25,000 in donations – $15,000 of which Flanagan pocketed as “loan repayments.”
None of that is conjecture – it is fact found in campaign finance disclosures filed on the Montgomery County Board of Elections website.
Last minute mailers have been favorite tactic of Kolodesh in past elections. Sending out mailers just a few days before an election gives their targets little or no chance to respond. It worked to defeat Limited Home Rule a year ago and also helped to defeat Flanagan’s opponents.
What is unanswered, however, is why Kolodesh spends so much money on Butler Township elections. One can only guess at how much the mailers cost this year since the disclosure isn’t filed, but one would assume that its at least half of last year’s expenditures.
Crude math tells me that means in the past 12 months, Kolodesh, has spent between at least $35,000 to directly influence Butler Township elections. No one else has spent even a tenth of that, not even on their own campaigns.
Kolodesh and his money were effective a year ago, and Butler Township residents paid a price in the election of Flanagan and the defeat of Limited Home Rule.
In fact, Flanagan and fellow Trustee Nick Brusky and their failed attempt at disbanding the police department are the primary reasons Limited Home Rule is back on the ballot. Residents asked for it to help serve as a counter to the power of the trustees by allowing citizen-generated petitions and referendums.
A growing divide exists in the township between its residents and their perceptions of the Miller Lane Business District, with some saying Kolodesh has too much power and that Miller Lane drains too many township resources.
Could a check on power, and placing power in the hands of the residents, be precisely what Kolodesh is afraid of?