Jacobs Campaign Committee Convicted

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Fined "for making false statements"

NEWS ARTICLE from THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 3-31-01, By Tim Doulin, Dispatch Staff Reporter

[Jacobs-backed campaign committee convicted and fined $10,000]

``A political campaign committee backed by former Northland Mall owner Richard E. Jacobs was convicted and fined $10,000 yesterday for making false statements in TV and radio campaign ads.

The fine is thought to be the largest in the state by a violator of the campaign-statements law ...

Earlier this week, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien filed a bill of information in Common Pleas Court charging Citizens to Save Northland with two counts of false campaign statements.

The campaign organization agreed to plead no contest and pay the $10,000 fine, the maximum for the misdemeanor offenses. That happened yesterday in front of Common Pleas Judge David L. Johnson ...

In exchange for the plea, no individuals involved in the campaign were charged in the case, which had been referred to the prosecutor's office by the elections commission ...

The elections commission ruled that ads in 1999, which sought to repeal the special tax district at Polaris Centers of Commerce, contained false statements ...

Issue 33, which would have repealed the special tax district, was defeated Nov. 2, 1999. ''

tdoulin@dispatch.com

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NEWS ARTICLE from THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 3-28-01, By Tim Doulin, Dispatch Staff Reporter

``Campaign-law violation: $10,000 fine to be paid by anti-Polaris group

A political campaign committee backed by former Northland Mall owner Richard E. Jacobs has agreed to pay the maximum $10,000 fine for making false statements in a TV and radio campaign three years ago.

The fine is thought to be the most severe ever paid in the state by a violator of the false- campaign- statements law, elections officials said.

"To my knowledge, this is the first time that anyone has gotten the maximum fine in a false-statements case,'' said Philip C. Richter, executive director of the Ohio Elections Commission.

The organization Citizens to Save Northland will plead no contest and pay a $5,000 fine on each of two counts of false campaign statements, William Meeks, an attorney for the campaign committee, said yesterday.

The criminal charges were filed against the campaign yesterday in Franklin County Common Pleas Court by County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien. Each count is a first-degree misdemeanor that carries a maximum fine of $5,000.

In exchange for the plea, no individuals involved in the campaign were charged in the case, which was referred to the prosecutor's office by the elections commission ...

The elections commission ruled that 1999 ads, which sought to repeal a special tax district at Polaris Centers of Commerce, contained false statements. The finding was upheld on appeal in December by Common Pleas Judge Lisa L. Sadler.

The tax district is generating funds to construct roads near I-71 and Polaris Parkway, where developer Herbert Glimcher is building the Polaris Fashion Place, a Northland Mall competitor.

Issue 33 -- the referendum to repeal the district -- was defeated Nov. 2, 1999.

Citizens to Save Northland sponsored an effort to repeal the 1996 Columbus ordinance that created a tax-increment financing district for the Polaris area, located in a part of Columbus that extends into southern Delaware County.

In its ads, the group said the district would help build a new mall with taxpayers' dollars. The ad showed a "cash patrol'' presenting a check for $22 million in taxpayers' money to a "wealthy developer.''

The commercial was created by Pittsburgh advertising firm BrabenderCox. The anti-Polaris campaign was directed by Paul Werth Associates, a Columbus public-relations agency ... ''

tdoulin@dispatch.com

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