Portune Laughs at Finney’s Charge of a ‘Liberal Cabal’ in Hamilton County

Is there a secret “liberal cabal” working behind the scenes in conservative Cincinnati, or are such allegations merely the overheated rhetoric of a Republican political consultant in an election year?

Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune, a Democrat included in the alleged cabal by attorney Christopher Finney, pointedly mocked the assertion in an e-mail sent Friday evening to Finney, who is the political mentor of Hamilton County Commission President Phil Heimlich.

Among other salient points, Portune noted that Republicans have staunchly controlled county government since the Vietnam War era, a period in which taxes soared and population declined.

As regular readers of this blog already know, we first wrote about Finney’s invitation for a planned “meet and greet” event for Heimlich’s re-election campaign on Aug. 25. Then, based on reader requests, we printed the full text of the invitation on Aug. 28.

The invitation read, in part, “On the county commission, Phil has steadily pursued a policy of fiscal responsibility, keeping taxes and spending below the rate of inflation. This follows the past two decades in which taxes and spending rose more than double and triple the rate of inflation. This fiscal reform has been done, predictably, in the face of stiff and consistent opposition from a liberal cabal of social service groups, left-wing media and, yes, liberal Democrat Todd Portune.”

Portune, who recently read the invitation’s full text, fired back Friday. In an e-mail to Finney, he called the allegations “astonishing.”

Portune wrote, “After I stopped laughing, it occurred to me that you might actually believe this. Hamilton County’s been under Republican rule for 30
years. If there’s a liberal cabal and left-wing media conspiracy, you’re
the only one who seems to be aware of it. Chris, what have you been smoking?”

(Actually, before Portune was elected in late 2000, the last Democrat served on the county commission 36 years earlier, in the mid-1960s.)

Portune continued, “Another thing, I wouldn’t be so quick to make accusations of secret-keeping and conspiracy. The way Phil conducts county business
behind closed doors, he could give the NSA some tips. Then there’s the
matter of Phil’s relationships with those he favors with county appointments.
Chris, your rhetoric’s on full boil and it’s only Labor Day. You might
want to pace yourself.”

We would have called Finney to get his comments. After a previous blog entry noting that his and Heimlich’s calculations about savings from a property tax rollback included in a proposed sales tax increase were incorrect, however, Finney advised us on Aug. 25 he would never speak to this blog or CityBeat again.

The one sentence reply that ended an e-mail exchange with Finney read, “Do not call me again.”

Until the edict is lifted, we won’t.

— Kevin Osborne

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15 Comments on “Portune Laughs at Finney’s Charge of a ‘Liberal Cabal’ in Hamilton County”

  1. The Dean Says:

    Finney’s attitude is part of the Heimlich philosophy: feed reporters news so they won’t ask hard questions.

    Unfortunately for Team Heimlich, their silence may make a better story than their pointless leads.

  2. John Says:

    Todd Portune (aka the “whipping post” couldn’t win a case when he practiced law) is not even smart enough to do any such thing….then again, he just might be dumb enough!

  3. James Says:

    What the Democrats want to hide from people is that the population decline is Hamilton County is occuring in all areas of the county where Democrats control the local government – like the City of Cincinnati and Norwood. Most Republican controlled township governments have stable populations. If you really want to see the entire county decline like the Democrat controlled City of Cincinnati, then elect Pepper.

    If you want to see Hamilton County grow, then vote for Phil Heimlich. Besides, adding Pepper can give you an upset stomach. The Heimlich Manuever can save your life and the life of Hamilton County. Let’s not give the county to the Democrats to ruin like they have ruined the City of Cincinnati.

  4. CincyDoc Says:

    The Heimlich Manuever can save your life

    The Red Cross now recommends backslaps instead of the Heimlich maneuver.

  5. Finneytown Says:

    Hilarious letter from Portune!

    The only thing funnier is the pro-Heimlich comment above, presumably posted by one of Finney’s winged monkeys.

    Looks like Chrissy’s havin’ a hissy!

  6. The truth Says:

    Actually, James, check your facts: all but about 6 jurisdictions lost people over the past 5 years. Included among those areas are the following: Anderson, Blue Ash, Montgomery, Madeira, Mariemont, Sharonville, Amberley, Indian Hill, Colerain Township, Evendale, etc.

  7. Mary H Says:

    Maybe Todd P didn’t get a chance to help the city as much as he could have since Phil H was either cutting him off or blowing his nose while Todd was talking. You have got to be kidding about Heimlich saving anyones life…its now proven not even the “manuever” is doing that. Forget if you are Democrat or Republican ….you have to look at the lies and hidden agendas that are taking place with the current County Commisioners behind closed doors and in front of everyone’s faces. As a Republican I would vote for anyone, just to get Heimlich out.

  8. Your eyes must be brown ... Says:

    because you are so full of bullshit James. republican rats have stable populations because they have stable income, jobs, education. The money that is suppose to stay in the city is UNDER the control of the same rats you stupid moron.

    heimlich grow the city? he’d rather flush the money down the toilet like he did with Drake then hand it over to the city. when the republicans return to LIVE in the city they work for then that will be day I vote for a republican.

  9. Left Wing Cabalist Says:

    The one sentence reply that ended an e-mail exchange with Finney read, “Do not call me again.” Until the edict is lifted, we won’t.

    How dare anyone mock the great Christopher P. Finney – real estate attorney?

    Please oh please, Chris, forgive Kevin and CityBeat so that we may once again read your quotes extolling the virtues of privatization, cutting health care for poor children, and defending Phil Heimlich.

  10. Brendan Says:

    Heimlich is a neo-fascist with a god complex. He hates America.

  11. A. Hines Says:

    Let us not forget Pepper. Does he really want this job? Let us think… could he be grasping for any office he can get? He could care less about the county gov’t. He wants a spring board for recognition so he can be like his daddy someday!

  12. elephant in the room Says:


    Portune is the real McCoy and Hamilton County voters know this. And for the record, “numbers” like “size” isn’t everything.

    If the Enquirer endorsed Portune, for example, this would bring circulation up because nobody wants to read about a cracker from Indian Hill. Nobody.

    The only people who read the news create the news. I heardly call it fishwrap.

  13. elephant in the room Says:

    To A. Hines,

    Pepper doesn’t have to lift a finger to get that job. Team Heimlich has done this for him.

  14. The truth Says:

    Heimlich is the bozo that ran for Lieutenant Governor WHILE he was a County Commissioner. He also spent months angling about how to run for Congress. This was all while he was supposed to be revolutionizing county government as its new President. No wonder 2005 was a disastrous year for the County.

  15. Mary H Says:

    Thank God you people have seen the true Phil H….where were you all when I was fighting City Hall (sic) to keep my son in Drake after Phil bulldozed the plan not give them the bond money?? Hopefully no on else has to suffer while he and his cohorts figure out how to cover thy own and hang Cincinnati out to dry!

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