The Pam Gross Connection
by Halie S. Rebeccaschild
In June, Loveland Community Heartbeat exposed an illegal contract between our city manager and an economic development consultant. We also uncovered that Mark Fitzgerald, our now-resigned mayor, made an appointment to the CIC that was in blatant violation of regulations. At that time, we had more questions than answers as to why our city manager and mayor would do such things, and we hadn’t yet made the Pam Gross connection. (Who is Pam Gross? She’s a one-term Loveland council member. Read on to learn more).
Uncovering the Illegal Contract and the Regulations Violation
And Mark Fitzgerald, Angie Settell, Pam Gross, and Steve Zamagias were bent on maintaining Stansel’s contract, which was evident in the repeated attempts to find a way to get him paid. On June 23rd, I wrote here on this blog,
“Tonight at City Hall, Mark Fitzgerald’s majority on council will attempt to pass a resolution giving City Manager Dave Kennedy free rein to pay Rob Stansel an unlimited amount of money.”
The links provided in the blog post about the illegal contract mysteriously broke after its publication. We later learned that the resolution was pulled from the meeting agenda (against Council Rules) sometime prior to the meeting. We can see resident Sherry Hamlin address City Council on this violation of Council Rules here.
The Un-Asked Questions
If you’ve read the post “Who’s Rob Stansel? The guy awarded an illegal contract in Loveland, OH,” you’ll know that Loveland had been paying an illegal contract since 2015 to our previous economic development consultant. What you didn’t learn is why and how he got the hook up. And if you’ve read “Let’s Connect Some Dots: A follow up to Todd Osborne’s statement to council on 6/13/17,” then you are aware of the appointment by Mark Fitzgerald in 2017 of a non-resident, Karl Weidner, to the Loveland Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) in violation of CIC regulations. (Regardless of Pam Gross’s claims, it has never been proven to the public that Weidner operated a business registered within the city of Loveland when resigned-mayor Mark Fitzgerald appointed him to the board of trustees of the Loveland Community Improvement Corporation.) Up to speed? Great! Let’s take it a step further to the Pam Gross Connection.
With some simple research, it’s easy to discover these two Mark Fitzgerald placements worked together professionally, outside of Loveland. But why were they here working together in Loveland in ways that appeared created by Mark Fitzgerald for them? Good question. Of course, we can easily place blame on Mark Fitzgerald. But is everything all Mark Fitzgerald’s fault? According to his friend, the poor guy just can’t catch a break. No, we can’t place blame for everything going wrong in Loveland on Fitzgerald. Others have been here working aside him to further his agenda, including Council Member Pam Gross. And Loveland Community Heartbeat knew that Pam Gross had a conflict of interest around Stansel’s contract; we knew that because she recused herself from the original vote led by Rob Weisgerber at the May 9th meeting for City Council to terminate Rob Stansels’ contract.
Pam Gross also knew that she had a conflict of interest; yet, she has refused to even acknowledge publicly that the contract and the appointment were wrong. Instead she deflects and points fingers everywhere but at her. We should look at Tom Carroll! Wait; he’s gone, so we should look at past Council. She even gets other people to start pointing fingers for her under the guise of telling the truth. So many pointing fingers without any credible evidence. But we are not confused. Guilty people often point fingers at others rather than own their own failures.
Pam Gross wants us to look everywhere but at the Pam Gross Connection to the Stansel contract and
Weidner appointment in violation
of regulations, both of which occurred during her tenure on Council.
Spreading Falsehoods Much, Pam?
Council Member Pam Gross desperately wants to change the subject away from her, but all these accusations have been proven false by our city solicitor, Joe Braun. Why does she persist when it’s known to be a falsehood?
The Pam Gross Connection
Yes, Loveland, it appears that Pam Gross wants us to look everywhere but at Pam Gross for accountability. She works very hard to deflect public attention away from her by spreading falsehoods during meetings (see above video) instead of focusing on city business. We have to ask, why?
With the Rob Stansel contract and Karl Weidner appointment to the CIC fresh in mind, let’s take a look at two campaign contributions made to Pam Gross when she was running for office in 2013. The first contribution circled in red, “Robert Stansel,” indicates a contribution by Robert Stansel in the amount of $500 to Pam Gross’s 2013 campaign.
Why? Well, remember, Robert Stansel was the recipient of the illegal contract that was awarded in April of 2015, after Pam Gross was elected to City Council. One theory would be that money was exchanged for employment and access to our city development projects.
The second contribution circled in red, “Karl Weidner,” indicates a campaign contribution made by Karl Weidner to Pam Gross’s campaign in the amount of $100.
Why? Well, Weidner’s contribution to Gross’s campaign in 2013 came prior to Mark Fitzgerald’s appointment of Weidner to the CIC, in violation of CIC regulations. One theory would be that money was contributed to Gross’s campaign in exchange for a position on the CIC, granting access to our city’s development projects. Obviously, these are just theories, but let’s entertain them for a moment, as we look at Pam’s quick assent to vice president of the Loveland CIC. (See the sources here to view Pam Gross’s 2013 Campaign Finance filings in entirety. The original documents may be requested of the Hamilton County Board of Elections.)
Pam Gross Becomes VP of the Loveland Community Improvement Corporation
It’s noteworthy that Pam Gross is now vice president of the board of trustees to the Loveland CIC as a first-term Council Member. She’s an accountant, so surely she’s more qualified than others on City Council to be appointed by Mark Fitzgerald and then to take on this important role. Right? And how convenient that Mark Fitzgerald just happened to appoint Karl Weidner to the CIC, someone who contributed to her campaign. Surely, Weidner was not obliged to vote for Pam Gross to assume that lofty position! But he did. (I’ll scratch your back; you scratch mine, right?) Look at the meeting minutes below indicating that the recently appointed 5-member committee, including Karl Weidner, voted unanimously for Pam Gross to be vice president. See the minutes here.
Is that even legal? If you read these elections, it’s as if it was all planned out in advance of the meeting.
With some simple research, it was easy to discover these two Mark Fitzgerald placements worked together professionally outside of Loveland. But why were these two Mark Fitzgerald placements here in these illegal and unethical ways? Maybe we should ask Pam Gross this question and demand that she answer it publicly at the next City Council meeting.
What Can Residents Do?
Two things. 1) If you are concerned about this or another possible ethics violation, contact the Ohio Ethics Commission to start a confidential investigation into the matter. At the very least, our local government needs an ethics review. All investigations are confidential, so no one will even know that you made a phone call.
And 2) If you’d like to help us on our mission to elect council members who will bring a higher standard of ethics to Loveland, please become a LCHPAC stakeholder. Finally, please consider voting for the four candidates endorsed by Loveland Community Heartbeat on November 7th. We’ve spent extensive time this year learning who works for transparency, ethics, and resident engagement on City Council so that you may have confidence in your vote.
Thank you for taking the time to research into your local city operations. Your fellow residents appreciate your time investment, and we promise that we are doing the same for you.
Halie Rebeccaschild, Secretary
Loveland Community Heartbeat Political Action Committee
See also Council Member Gross’s Waste of Police Resources and Our Time. Pam Gross is up for reelection in 2017. Loveland Community Heartbeat trusts that residents will not fall for Pam Gross a second time.
Paid for by Loveland Community Heartbeat Political Action Committee.