Thick as Thieves
The appointment by the Portsmouth City Council of fellow council member John Haas to replace Michael Jones as Portsmouth City Solicitor is a reminder not only that city officials continue thick as thieves as they play the political game of musical chairs, but also that they steadfastly maintain the incomparable tradition of incompetence for which they are notorious throughout Scioto County. They perform as public officials as they did as private citizens, which is to say ineptly, especially in the handling of money, their own as well as the public’s. Three members of city government—former-mayor-now-councilman Jim Kalb; former-councilman-now-appointed-mayor David Malone; and former councilman-now-city solicitor Haas—have gone bankrupt. Two other members of city government—councilman Kevin Johnson and former city-solicitor-now-assistant-Domestic Relations-judge Michael Jones, might have gone bankrupt if Michael Gamp, of American Savings Bank, consigliere Clay Johnson’s heir apparent, had not bailed them out financially.
One puzzling aspect of the search for someone to replace Haas as city solicitor was that one of the candidates who applied for the position, the lawyer Steven C. Rodeheffer, is apparently a success professionally, having a thriving law practice with a top-notch female partner. Haas told the PDT that now that he’s solicitor “he plans to scale his private law practice back so he can focus on this new responsibilities.” How do you scale back on virtually nothing? It’s widely rumored Haas was a flop as an attorney, which is why he was so desperate for the solicitor’s high paying job. Personal failures have the inside track on public jobs.
Rodeheffer, by contrast, has not falsified his residence for purposes of serving on the city council; Rodeheffer has never been a drug dealing pimp; Rodeheffer, in fact, appears to have no criminal connections; he has never declared bankruptcy; he has not been taken into court for nonpayment of child support; he has not had his wife take out a restraining order against him; he has not had his license suspended for speeding and DUI, all of which misdemeanors and felonies, city officials have at one time or other been guilty of. How could a man without a record of incompetence, bankruptcy, recklessness, cronyism, and criminality hope to be appointed to public office in Portsmouth? What was Rodeheffer thinking? Who put the crazy idea into his head? When Haas filed for bankruptcy, he had the shyster Mike Mearan as his lawyer. Which lawyer did Rodeheffer consult before he applied for the office of solicitor? Doesn’t he know a crooked lawyer who might have set him straight about the qualifications needed to qualify for appointment to public office in Portsmouth? The fact that Rodeheffer, with his clean record and good credentials, did apply for city solicitor, in and of itself, shows such poor judgment that Mr. Rodeheffer should be barred from ever trying to be appointed to public office in Portsmouth again. No felonies and certainly no misdemeanors he might be convicted of in the future could possibly make up for the crimes he has not committed in the past. Even if he were to someday fail as miserably and hilariously in court as Mike Jones did in his attempt to convict Harald Daub of shoplifting a shopping bag from Aldi’s, Rodeheffer will never live down the shame of having the city council choose a deadbeat dad and bankrupt dodo instead of him.
In explaining why he was chosen, Haas told the PDT, “I’ve been dealing with these guys for several years during my time on council. They know me . . .” Yeah, these guys know Haas and Haas knows these guys. What more is there to say? They’re not just thick, they’re thick as thieves.