Heimlich’s Mentor Has Cussing Fit
There he goes again.
Christopher Finney, an arch-conservative attorney who is political mentor to Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich, interrupted a press conference held by Heimlich’s opponent this morning and unleashed a torrent of profanities at him and his staff.
As Democratic challenger David Pepper outlined his “10 simple rules” for cleaning up county government, Finney interrupted and called Pepper “a trust fund, spoiled brat” and an “asshole,” among other names.
After Pepper’s press secretary, Bridget Doherty, told Finney he was acting “infantile,” Finney told her, “Kiss my ass.” He then turned around, lifted up his coat jacket, patted his posterior and said, “Bridget, kiss it right here.”
Finney was angry that Pepper criticized Heimlich’s penchant for appointing his friends and campaign contributors to county task forces that help shape major policies. Finney, for example, is on the Tax Levy Review Committee and other county panels. Pepper has said county government is rife with cronyism and insider deals and that all such personal relationships and possible conflicts of interests should be publicly revealed.
During the press conference, Finney told Pepper, “You’re trying to smear my name because you’re a rich, fucking asshole.” Finney said he’s volunteered hundreds of hours to county task forces and revealed his business connections on documents filed with the state, adding, “I’ve never hidden anything, I have no secrets.”
Pepper said Finney’s outburst was telling. “His reaction to a simple call for transparency speaks volumes,” Pepper said later. “These connections need to be disclosed. That’s basic good government. The over-the-top reaction shows just how badly it’s needed.”
This morning’s temper tantrum isn’t the first time that Finney has lost his cool.
In late August, Finney got upset over a blog entry here that mentioned miscalculations in alleged savings from a property tax rollback included as part of a county sales tax hike plan proposed by Heimlich. After the entry pointed out that Finney earlier told CityBeat that he personally vetted the calculations the weekend before the plan was made public, an angry Finney sent e-mails calling CityBeat a “biased rag” and telling us, “Do not call me again.”
Finney is a co-founder of the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST). The group has neither endorsed nor opposed Heimlich’s sales tax proposal, which is on the Nov. 7 ballot.
Among the crude invectives hurled today by Finney, he called Pepper “a little rich fucking asshole who’s never had to work a day in his life.” Pepper held the press conference in St. Bernard, across from Procter &Gamble’s old Ivorydale factory. He is the son of John Pepper, P&G’s retired CEO.
David Pepper is employed as an attorney at the Squire Sanders & Dempsey law firm and previously worked as an aide to former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Ironically, it’s Heimlich who depends on his family’s largess to help pay the bills. Heimlich’s father is Dr. Henry Heimlich, purported inventor of the now discredited “Heimlich Maneuver” to help choking victims; his grandfather is famed dancer Arthur Murray.
According to documents filed with the Ohio Ethics Commission in 2005, Heimlich lists the Kathryn Murray Family Limited Partnership and the Heimlich Family Limited Partnership No. 2 as sources of income. Also, under a section that lists investments and fiduciary interests, Heimlich lists the Heimlich Institute Foundation, the Arthur Murray Trust, the Kathryn Murray Family Limited Partnership and the Heimlich Family Limited Partnership.
Additionally, Heimlich lists Three Centurions No. 2 as a source of income. A real estate investment firm, Three Centurions was co-owned by Heimlich, Finney and former Heimlich staffer Jeff Eichorn. The trio eventually transferred ownership to their wives. The company apparently is named after a term coined by millionaire evangelist Bill Gothard, whom Heimlich admires.
Finney’s verbatim tirade was confirmed using an audio recording of the press conference provided by WNKU-FM (89.7). Finney was accompanied by two young women, presumably Heimlich campaign workers, who videotaped the outburst.
If we’re all lucky, this juicy bit of political theater will end up on You Tube.
— Kevin Osborne