Jun 8, 2010

On the Death of Larry Kaczala and Predictable Toledo Blade Hatchet Jobs

It was with shock and sadness that I read today of the apparent suicide of Larry Kaczala, former Lucas County auditor and local fixture in Republican political circles. I met Larry a few times over the years in my work as a journalist (and once years ago when I was a card-carrying member of the Republican Party), and I found him to be a likable, friendly, and honest public servant who always returned calls and provided accurate and insightful commentary.

In short, he was a rarity in politics.

Yet in some ways I was even more disturbed to see that the Toledo Blade, the largest local paper and a newspaper long known around these parts for its transparent political agendas, chose on the day of this tragedy to once again smear the name of Larry Kaczala. You see, the Blade in mid-2005 ran a series uncovering the illegal activity of Tom Noe, a local political kingmaker whose fall from grace is encapsulated in the scandal known as Coingate. Kaczala's "sin" was to have accepted a total of $6,000 from Noe in elections in 2002 and 2004, long before the truth about Coingate began to leak.

Of course, it does not matter that practically anyone with an "R" after their name in local and regional politics unknowingly accepted what would later be discovered as tainted campaign cash. Heck, even the campaigns of California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and President George W. Bush received funds that were connected to Noe.

Of course, those well-funded campaigns could easily refund the cash and wash their metaphorical hands. Kaczala's campaign war chests had long been emptied by the time the Coingate story broke, as he lost handily in the 2004 election to incumbent Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur. Thus, for Kaczala to "clear" his name in the eyes of the Blade's editors and publisher, he would have had to use personal funds to try and buy his name back.

Here is the Blade's cheap-shot post-mortem attack on Kaczala (documented here in case they decide to edit their online tackiness):
Mr. Kaczala had unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) in 2004, a campaign that many felt cost him the auditor's race two years later because it allowed Ms. Lopez to raise the fact that convicted GOP fund-raiser Tom Noe and his wife, Bernadette, gave Mr. Kaczala $6,000 for his campaign to unseat Ms. Kaptur.

The poor man is not even in the ground yet and the Blade is tossing around Coingate for a pathetic attempt to once again rehash a story that should have long ago died its natural journalistic death. Unfortunately, the Blade continues to milk every possible mile out of the Coingate story, and any story with even the most remote of Noe connections gets the Coingate treatment. Even worse, a well-placed local source apparently spoke a few hours ago with Dave Murray, the Blade's managing editor, and he was quoted as indicating that the "Coingate reference was news-worthy and they would be writing more about Larry's Noe connections in tomorrow's article." Maybe Murray feels a little guilty right about now, as his latest Twitter post says that Kaczala was a "great guy."

Shame on you, Toledo Blade. Your attempts to squeeze cheap ratings at the expense of Larry Kaczala are as unabashedly sickening as anything the paper has ever done, and one wonders how Murray and the writers associated with this vile nonsense can sleep at night.

Let Larry Kaczala rest in peace.

Full disclosure: I occasionally work as a freelance writer for other local papers, including the Toledo Free Press. This post probably dooms any future I might have as a freelancer for the Blade, but I doubt I would be able to work with an organization with such few corporate scruples and still respect myself in the morning.


Anonymous said...

Think about the Blade's love affair with Jon "weasel-Dick-Fucker" Stainbrook and you'll know why they hate Larry Kaczala so much.

Anonymous said...

hi historymike,

I am Larry's nephew, Shawn. I have read your blog post as well as the articles surrounding Larry's death. Larry's family thanks you for your kind comments. The Blade runs irreverent nonsensical trash they call journalistic integrity. Good Luck with your freelance career

Kaczala Family

Anonymous said...

Amen couldn't Have said it any better. The Blade is disgusting that they could even do that.

Anonymous said...

Wow, those freak-os at the Blade hit an alltime low for yellow journalism, and I hope they rot in hell.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it but LK's house taxes haven't been paid in awhile according to AREIS, maybe there's some financial problems because there will be over $12,000 owed by the end of July with no payments since Feb. 2009.

Anonymous said...

All the best to your family. Larry stood up for me in 2005 at a GOP endorsement meeting. He was very principled in standing up for equal rights and an inclusive party.

Dave Schulz

historymike said...

Anonymous #1:

Nah, I don't buy the Stainbrook angle, even though the Blade does love the Stained One and Kaczala and Stainbrook once opposed each other in a primary. Stainbrook also acted with some class for a change yesterday, reminding the media that LK once donated a kidney to his sister.

historymike said...

Hi Shawn:

My condolences to the Kaczala family, and I cannot begin to imagine the pain that you are all feeling.

Take care.

historymike said...

Anonymous #4:

Interesting you mentioned AREIS, which of course was approved and developed during LK's years as auditor.

historymike said...

Dave Schulz:

You are correct about what a stand-up and decent guy Larry was, and he will be missed by the community.

Mad Jack said...

Good job, Mike. I didn't know Larry Kaczala nor have I ever met him, but I'm sorry he passed away. As to the apparent suicide, Mr. Kaczala was a public figure and held an elected office for a time. If for no other reasons, here are two valid arguments supporting the investigation of Mr. Kaczala's death as a homicide.

I'm not too surprised that The Blade would take a cheap shot at Mr. Kaczala. He's unable to defend himself and it's an opportunity to make his friends and family a little sadder and more heartbroken than they already are.

I blame Block and his family along with executive editor Kurt Franck, managing editor Dave Murray and assistant managing editor Luann Sharp.

EJL said...

Thanks for speaking out about this. I was outraged by the Blade's reference to the Noe scandal in the report about Larry.
I don't know why it would shock me- they are so despicable.
I had the opportunity to work on some campaigns with Mr. Kaczala and found him to be a wonderful, honest man and a pleasure to work with and campaign for.
I am truly saddened by his death and wish the Kaczala family the comfort and peace of Christ during this tragic time. They have my deepest condolences.

Anonymous said...

Larry was a good fried. Even though we lost touch some 30 some years ago, I will always have fond memories of our time growing up on the south side of Toledo. My prayers go out to his wife, we never meet, I am sorry to say, his older brother Jim (not sure if he is still with us), Gary and Sharon, along all of his extended family.

Anonymous said...

I worked for Larry in the late 90's this is hard to comprehend. Larry was a great boss and an all around good guy. What is happening?? My prayers go out to the Kaczala family. RIP Larry.

Anonymous said...

I met Larry and Gina at the Government Center when I was cleaning their offices.They were nice and kind hearted people.I was wondering if they has his funeral or is it hush hush.