Under Retherford standard, George Lang’s Dynus history precludes House appointment
HAMILTON – Back in the spring, the Butler Democratic Party joined the Butler County Republican Party in calling for State Representative Wes Retherford to resign in the wake of his drunk driving arrest. At the time, Butler County GOP Chair Todd Hall remarked saying Retherford “has proven himself unreliable and unfit to serve the fine people of his district. His actions and behavior are unacceptable,” Hall said. “Now, he has been charged with a felony. His constituents deserve better, and our party deserves better. [Source: Journal News (03/15/17), “Butler County GOP asks Wes Retherford to resign.”]
Hall also said Retherford’s action mandated that he “resign immediately,” adding: “When one of these elected officials makes bad choices and puts self-interests above those he serves, it is our duty as a party to make a change.” Even after a grand jury sent Retherford’s case back finding probable cause for only misdemeanors, Hall renewed his call for Retherford’s resignation, saying: “Regardless of the charges, . . . [t]he GOP expects a higher level of integrity, and I’m sure his district does too.” [Source: Journal News (4/18/17), “Butler County lawmaker no longer faces career-ending felony charge.”]
Now with the vacancy caused by the sudden resignation of State Representative Margie Conditt, just six months into a two year-term, the Butler County Republican Party is asked to recommend someone to be appointed for the remainder of her term. Among the seven candidates seeking the county party’s support is current West Chester Trustee and Dynus scandal figurehead George Lang.
According to a well-established timeline about Dynus composed from testimony and evidence at multiple federal trials, Lang served as both a lobbyist for Dynus while also serving as a high-level executive of the company. Lang traded the access he had to local Republican political figures for cash in order to help Dynus’ scheme that resulted in massive fraud. Testimony established, in furtherance of Dynus’ bank fraud, that Lang was paid $300,000 to facilitate the company’s access to key Butler County Republican elected officials, of which Lang allegedly paid a $100,000 kickback to the Dynus exec who set up Lang with Dynus’ lobbying contract. [Source: Cincinnati Business Courier (Aug. 3, 2009), “Dynus ex-president implicates Butler County officials at trial.”] Lang was ultimately acquitted of federal perjury charges, but was never criminally charged for his participation in the lobbying and kickback scheme.
Proving he learned nothing from Dynus, Lang seemed to highlight his political fundraising, including for the Ohio Speaker of the House who will play a final role in any appointment, as his strength for an appointment to the Ohio House seat that once again, will be filled by party bosses and not by voters of the district.
“George Lang’s role in the Dynus ‘pay to play’ federal corruption scandal and apparent willingness to participate in kickback schemes long demonstrated that he is unfit to serve in the Ohio House of Representatives. Just as the Butler County GOP publicly and forcefully said that Wes Retherford’s troubles from a likely drinking problem was a disqualifier that mandated his ‘immediate resignation,’ Lang’s involvement in Dynus requires both parties to again present an united and public voice and declare George Lang is unfit to serve in the Ohio House of Representatives. His role in one of the biggest political corruption scandals in recent memory should be an automatic disqualifier,” said Jocelyn Bucaro, Butler County Democratic Party Executive Committee Chair. “I trust our friends on the other side of the aisle will speak out against Lang’s fitness to serve just as they did with Retherford. To do otherwise would be inexcusably hypocritical.”