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Strickland backs FitzGerald, says Kasich is raising taxes on middle class
Other noon headlines: More guilty pleas in Pilot Flying J; IRS $8 million refund trial

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
Former Gov. Ted Strickland says the 2014 gubernatorial race will be about the future of Ohio, not the past.
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In The Region:
  • Former Gov. Strickland backs Fitzgerald as champion of middle class
  • Two more plead guilty in Pilot Flying J
  • "Sovereign citizens" tax fraud trial begins 
  • Strickland backs FitzGerald, calls Kasich a tax increaser
    Former Gov. Ted Strickland formally endorsed Ed Fitzgerald today in his run for governor.

    Strickland, who narrowly lost the election in 2010 to John Kasich, says the election is about the future, not the past – though he did a brief recap of the performance of his administration and Kasich’s – and found Kasich wanting.

    Strickland says FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive, is in a good position to press Kasich on policy.

    LISTEN: Strickland on taxes
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    “I would talk about his tax increases on the  working middle class. I would talk about the fact that he’s increasing property taxes. I would talk about the increase in the sales tax. I think this governor can rightfully be labeled a tax increaser. The wealthiest in this state are benefitting from the governor’s tax plan. There’s no doubt about that. But the working people are paying the bill for that.”

    Strickland says he’ll be raising money for FitzGerald, and FitzGerald will have whatever he needs.

    Campaign finance reports are due Wednesday, and Strickland wouldn’t say how much money would indicate FitzGerald is reaching his goals. But he noted that Kasich had raised about a half million dollars but this point in the 2010 campaign.

    More Pilot Flying J employees admit guilt
    Two more employees of Browns owner Jimmy Haslam’s Pilot Flying J truck stop company  pleaded guilty today to federal fraud charges.

    According to the Knoxville Sentinel, Scott Fenwick admitted to conspiracy to commit mail fraud.  Janet Welch, a former Pilot senior account manager, also entered a guilty plea in federal court in Tennessee.

    That brings to seven the number of current and former employees who admitted they bilked small trucking companies out of promised fuel rebates.

    Federal court records now indicate that the FBI began its investigation of Pilot in 2011, and that its confidential informants include a regional sales director. The feds raided the Pilot headquarters on April 15.

    Haslam has said he knew nothing of the fraud, and has reached a proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit that promises each of the trucking companies the full amount of the promised rebates plus 6 percent annual interest.

    Federal trial over an $8 million tax refund begins
    A federal trial in Cleveland is getting underway today against two people who claim they’re “sovereign citizens” and who the government says collected $8 million bogus tax refunds from the IRS.

    Don Gooch is a 64-year-old ex-employee of the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation. A federal indictment says he and co-defendant Gerard Scott set up a phony trust and told the IRS the trust had collected $17 million in income taxes. They’re then accused of filing false income tax returns and claiming refunds. According to the Plain Dealer, Gooch says he was put on paid leave by the workers comp bureau and is now collecting  $12,000 a year in retirement benefits.





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