Ohio Lt. Governor Mary Taylor is the Ultimate Political Insider
Part 1 – Goodyear’s New World Headquarters
On Friday, February 9, 2018, Mary Taylor blasted Mike DeWine at a meeting of the Ohio Republican Party’s State Central Committee. Her comments included the following:
"My opponent is a creature of that establishment,” she said. “A shill for the entrenched special interests and lobbyists who stalk the halls of the statehouse looking for a handout. He’s a career politician who has been on the state ballot in each of the last five decades, and has a liberal voting record as long as the line of babies he has kissed and hands he has shook. After 42 years on the public dole, he is soft on protecting your Second Amendment rights, soft on getting conservative judges appointed, and soft on immigration. His entire campaign has been built on an air of inevitability. A false belief that it is his turn, and his team has worked hard to make you believe the same.”
Fair enough. But it’s mighty hypocritical for Taylor to portray herself as a political outsider.
Case in point.
Statewide candidates were required to file their campaign finance reports by January 31, 2018. Mary Taylor’s report shocked the political establishment because it showed that she had loaned her campaign $3 million.
Mary Taylor has been in statewide office for nearly the past 12 years as either Lt. Governor or as State Auditor. Obviously, she didn’t acquire those funds from her taxpayer paid salary. Instead, they most likely came from her husband’s work as President & CEO of the Welty Building Company. In fact, on Mrs. Taylor’s financial disclosures she listed approximately 45 separate entities in which her husband, Don Taylor, had an ownership interest.
The Welty Building Company is a highly visible, growing, and well respected construction management company. At the same time much of their work has been financed by a multitude of state and local government grants, loans, and other financial incentives.
In fact, Welty brags on their website about their ability to put together government funding for big projects. Take what they say about their work on the Goodyear World Headquarters:
When Goodyear’s century-old building no longer met their modern-day needs, they turned to Welty to deliver not only a new Global Headquarters but also a fully covered parking structure and renovation to the existing Innovation Center. Welty was instrumental in assisting Goodyear and the developer in obtaining financing for the project. Once financing was obtained, Welty also worked with State, County and City officials and their consultants to coordinate government funding sources, and the procurement requirements associated with those sources.
So, what were those funding sources? The Development Finance Authority for Summit County breaks it down on their website:
The Development Finance Authority structured a $100,000,000 capital lease structure and taxable bond issuance to fund a portion of the project. DFA’s lease structure created State and County sales tax savings of $4,500,000. The bond issue was structured as development revenue bond with a 25 year term and was sold as a Private Placement.
The Development Finance Authority also served as recipient of State grant and loan incentives through a master grant agreement between the Authority and the State. The Authority borrowed funds from the State of Ohio on behalf of Goodyear and the City of Akron using Tax Increment Financing Payments to repay State loans over a 20 year term.
$100,000,000 – Development Finance Authority Bonds
$ 4,500,000 – Development Finance Authority Sales Tax Savings
$ 20,000,000 – State 166 Loan
$ 10,000,000 – State R&D Loan
$ 16,800,000 – State Grants
$ 10,200,000 – Summit County Contribution
$161,500,000 – Total Sources
According to CEO Don Taylor, this project helped build his company’s reputation.
The Goodyear global headquarters project included a new seven-story, 639,000-square-foot facility, as well as a five-story, 975,000-square-foot, fully covered parking structure with more than 3,000 parking spaces. Additionally, the project included a renovation to 207,000 square feet within the existing Innovation Center.
The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company doesn’t actually own their new headquarters. In simple terms, a real estate investor, California based Industrial Realty Group, actually bought and developed the site. They then lease the headquarters back to Goodyear on a long term lease arrangement.
Industrial Realty Group raises private investment dollars through its participation in the federal EB – 5 visa program which grants U.S. citizenship in exchange for foreign investments. According to the Canton Repository, the Goodyear project received nearly $35 million of funding from the federal EB-5 program.
According to public records, Welty does not employ any outside lobbyists. Industrial Realty Group does, however. According to JLEC, close Kasich advisors Donald Thibaut and Robert Covey of the Credo Company lobby for them. Thibaut is one of the few Kasich loyalists that is still supporting Mary Taylor for Governor.
No one is suggesting that Mary Taylor, her husband, the Welty Building Company, or the Industrial Realty Group has done anything either illegal or unethical. But it is the height of hypocrisy to portray yourself as a political outsider when you and your campaign have indirectly benefitted from significant government financial assistance.
Lastly, Taylor stunned many of her fellow Republicans last week when she announced that if defeated in the primary, she would refuse to support her party’s nominee in the general election. Maybe she has more in common with John Kasich than she thought.
In Part 2 of our series, we’ll introduce you to some other Taylor companies and other government funded projects that they have been involved with.