November 23, 2014

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UPDATED: Ed FitzGerald lacked driver’s license for decade

Ed FitzGerald

Ed FitzGerald

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Democrat running for Ohio governor had been without a permanent driver’s license for more than 10 years when police found him in his car with a woman who was not his wife early one morning in October 2012.

Cuyahoga County executive Ed FitzGerald’s license expired in 2002, and he didn’t get a new permanent one until November 2012, his campaign spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said Wednesday.

FitzGerald had scheduled his license renewal several times, but things kept coming up, she said.

“He recognizes that that’s not an acceptable excuse, and there’s no excuse for not having a full license for a decade,” Hitt told The Associated Press. “He fully regrets it and has apologized.”

Ohio records show FitzGerald had temporary permits starting in 2008, but he lacked one for more than a year until he got a license.

FitzGerald’s driving record has drawn scrutiny because of the 2012 incident, first reported last week.

The leader of the state’s most populous county, FitzGerald had only a temporary instruction permit when a worker called police in the Cleveland suburb of Westlake at about 4:30 a.m. on Oct. 13, 2012, to report suspicious activity at the park.

FitzGerald later identified the woman in the car as Joanne Grehan, who was part of an Irish delegation visiting the region. He told reporters Friday that others in the delegation were traveling separately and had gotten lost. He said was trying to connect with them.

A police officer noted in a brief report having talked to Fitzgerald but did not cite him.

If Grehan had a valid Irish driver’s license at the time, it would have been legal for FitzGerald to drive with her in the car.

But if FitzGerald dropped Grehan off at her hotel and drove home or anywhere else by himself, he would have broken the law, a minor misdemeanor with a maximum $150 fine.

——————Earlier version——————–

CLEVELAND (AP) — Motor vehicle records show Democratic governor’s race candidate and Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald didn’t have a valid Ohio driver’s license for nearly five years starting in 2008, raising further questions about a 2012 incident in which he was found in a car with a woman who wasn’t his wife at 4:30 a.m. in a suburban industrial park.

FitzGerald had only a temporary instruction permit when a worker called police in the Cleveland suburb of Westlake on Oct. 13, 2012, to report suspicious activity at the park. FitzGerald later identified the woman in the car as Joanne Grehan, who was part of an Irish delegation visiting the region. He said Friday the group of people with whom he had been traveling had gotten lost and he was trying to connect with them.

One of his top aides, however, has disputed his version of events: Nate Kelly has said he was chauffeuring members of the delegation as a designated driver and didn’t get lost.

A police officer noted in a brief report having talked to Fitzgerald but did not cite him.

If Grehan had a valid Irish driver’s license at the time, it would have been legal for FitzGeraldto drive with her in the car. Ohio law requires that a motorist with a temporary permit have a sober, licensed driver 21 years or older in the passenger seat next to him.

But if FitzGerald dropped Grehan off at her hotel and drove home or anywhere else by himself, he would have broken the law, a minor misdemeanor with a maximum $150 fine

FitzGerald did not have a driver’s license when he applied for a one-year, temporary permit on March 20, 2008. After it lapsed in March 2009, he went without any kind of permit or license until he applied for a second permit on Oct. 22, 2010. He applied for another permit on Nov. 15, 2011, and finally received a driver’s license a year later.

It’s unclear why FitzGerald, a 46-year-old former FBI agent, assistant county prosecutor, suburban mayor and county executive, the most powerful elected position in Cuyahoga County government, went so long without a driver’s license or why he allowed the temporary permits to lapse.

FitzGerald’s campaign spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said Tuesday he “has apologized for the mistake,” but she didn’t elaborate on what the mistake was or why he failed to obtain a driver’s license for so long.

A spokeswoman for Gov. John Kasich, FitzGerald’s Republican opponent, declined to comment on Tuesday.

The Columbus Dispatch reported Monday that Fitzgerald lacked a driver’s license between much of 2008 and 2012.


  • Sis Delish

    I think the best comment on this story so far was on the Mike Trivassano (sp) show on WTAM yesterday.

    The reason why FitzGerald was found in the car with the Blonde was because you need a Driver’s License to rent a Hotel Room!

  • Summer Smart

    In comes the dirt and out goes what should be really talked about….

    • oldruss

      And character and good judgment isn’t worth talking about?

      • Summer Smart

        Character and judgment is worth talking about, but I guess I am tired of all campaigns being nothing but smear campaigns. Everyone makes mistakes. It is what they do after the mistakes that should be taken into consideration. Did they change or continue doing whatever bad they did? If they changed, move on and get to the issues; if they did not, then there is an issue.

  • GreatRedeemer

    Nothing really changed over to our east did it.

  • stillsleepyeyes

    there’s a surprise, a politician breaking the law………………..not

  • Otter

    Don’t you need a valid DL (or at least a state ID) to do other things, like vote, cash a check, use a credit card (in some cases) and get on a plane? I can understand it happing once…but 3 times?

    • clipper

      No, actually you don’t. Just a valid photo ID. Now, did he have that? I don’t know.

  • Mr Fahts

    Good luck getting rid of kasich. Dolts.

  • alreadyfedup1

    ….and this guy WAS an FBI agent?????????????
    Most agents I knew had to drive????
    He had good intentions right? So I guess he gets a pass.

  • LorainCountyVoter

    This is nothing compared to what Kasich has done to the citizens of the state of Ohio. Wake up people, Another four years of him and we will be doomed.

    • Sis Delish

      Care to Explain in non-Democratic Terms, what you believe Kasich has done to citizens of the state of Ohio?

      • stillsleepyeyes

        Nope that’s all he has……………………….

      • clipper

        He has expanded the number of people on Medicare, adding perhaps thousands of people to the public dole, further draining our tax dollars. People who do not belong on these doles.
        He has also gone out of his way to take away YOUR choice at the polls, by preventing 3rd party candidates on the ballot. He knows he has done such a crappy job, that 3rd party candidates scare him. And they should.
        Write in Charles Earl for Governor, instead of a “lesser of evils” vote. Voting for the lesser of evils is still voting for evil. And the only wasted vote is a vote for evil.

        • Sectionhand

          You mean Medicaid … and that wouldn’t have happened were it not for that dummy in the White House .

        • Sis Delish

          Clipper, Sectionhand is correct, it was an expansion of MediCAID brought on the State of Ohio via the election of the Biggest Mistake America has Ever Made at the Polls.

    • LorainCountyVoter

      How about his attempt to destroy all unions so the working man has no say so in pay or benefits, so the companies can dictate what they want to pay you. Try living on what they will pay if this happens, not to mention no pensions or healthcare if you can retire. Isn’t that enough you morons.

      • stillsleepyeyes

        oh please go on with this union rant…………….

      • Joe Smith

        Unions are helping chase the jobs out of the country along with over regulation, try living on zero pay because of a lack of jobs

      • Sectionhand

        The unions have destroyed themselves through greed and utter stupidity .

    • kingharles

      I agree with LorainCountyVoter….. Ohio will be done for if we keep Kasich. I mean he’s trying to turn Ohio into a Right to Work state…. that right there should make people want him out!

      • Joe Smith

        Why are you against a right to work? Against freedom?

        • kingharles

          I support unions 100% they take care of their people. they allow their people to have benefits and make good wages, who wouldn’t want that? the only people who should be anti-union are business owners who want to pay their employees nothing and give them no benefits! I would think everyone else would be pro union and against right to work.

          • Joe Smith

            I would support them also I they didn’t go overboard with employees not doing their job or stealing etc. and don’t get fired and people getting paid big bucks and benefits doing a job that a monkey could do and I have never held a union job yet get paid well etc. so saying you do not get those without a union is simply not true.
            And right to work gives you the choice of being union or non union, what is wrong with that?
            If unions were so great, why do you feel the need to force them into a union?

          • LorainCountyVoter

            I agree. Unions do sometimes protect the screw ups. But you have to take the good with the bad just like everything else. The problem with the right to work. No one will pay dues if they have to be represented anyway. The unions then fold as they have no money. This is what Kasich wants. Unions fold and now business does what they want. See what happens then. Compare Ohio’s wages for the same job in Florida a right to work state. Its almost 50% less. That’s the proof of the difference.

          • Sis Delish

            Wisconsin is doing just fine… surplus, I hear… Packers and Brewers still operating… Cheese and Beer still available… what’s your problem?

          • SniperFire

            ‘The problem with the right to work. No one will pay dues ‘

            So you want to force membership and deny each individual the freedom of choice ? Nazi, much?

          • clipper

            Exactly. If I choose NOT to belong to a union, shouldn’t I have that right? Why should I be forced to join a union just for the ‘privilege’ of working somewhere?

          • tickmeoff

            Because Genius, it will break the union over time. we will be working, as to living a decent life, that won’t happen. If unions were not needed, they would have never been invented!

          • 2Cents

            Your numbers are off and like I said earlier, wages are relevant to the cost of living in a given area. Unions deteriorated the competitive spirit of productivity in this country. Why give an honest days work when Joe Union-man gets away with slacking off. Did you know Michigan is a RTW State?. It’s about choice, not wages. The law does not prevent a company from paying a fair wage.

          • Joe Smith

            I would like to see where if a member does not pay dues that they have to be represented anyway, do you have a link to the portion of the law that states that?
            Thank you

          • tickmeoff

            Because you know it undercuts the power of the union. Why ask questions, when you already know the answer.

          • kingharles

            yes, some unions suck. but depending on the union you’re in and what kind of work you do.. makes a huge difference. my husband works construction and makes $30/hour and has great benefits. if he did was hes doing not, but wasn’t in a union, he’d be making $10/hour with no benefits.

          • robertloggia16

            Hahahahaha… Unions look out for the union bosses… When the jobs leave, the union bosses look for new people to leech off of.

          • Bill Love

            I against unions and im not a business owner I make good money and have great benefits at my job i make great money because i earned it didnt need someone to get it for me i was in the union before didnt like it at all

          • LorainCountyVoter

            Don’t think for one minute that you don’t have what you have at your job that it wasn’t from unions. Make this a right to work state and get rid of all unions and see if you keep those benefits and pay. You won’t.

          • Sectionhand

            Unions are their own worst enemy . The United Rubber Workers Union doesn’t exist anymore because of its own stupid greed .

          • Bill Love

            Yeah I will I have always made good money and benefits because of my work ethic employers pay people who work and do a good job

          • tickmeoff

            It depends on the employer, You were lucky! Or they paid you well due to the fear of unionization.

          • Bill Love

            My employer knew I was worth it I earned it

          • SniperFire

            But why are you against the right to choose to be in a union or not? Do you not realize how totalitarian it for you to argue in favor of forced membership compliance like some sort of jackbooting brownshirt?

          • kingharles

            I’m not against the right to choose if you want to be in a union or not, some unions are awful. but not all. my husband is a laborer out of local 758, makes $30/hour and has incredible benefits. if he did his job for a non union company he’d make $10/hour with no benefits. or if it were a right to work state, some thing. people in florida who work construction make $10-$12/hour

          • SniperFire

            It may surprise you but I am all for unions.

            What I am against is their extortion backed by laws permitting it. Right to work is right to choose.

            You sound very much against right to choose.

          • clipper

            Yeah, at the expense of everyone else. Unions are organized crime. This is not opinion. I have seen this first hand. Union leaders only care about themselves and making their purses fat, and they will do it any way they can. All unions do is take money out of your pocket. They provide nothing that isn’t offered by non-union companies. They just do it at a much higher price than non-union companies, making the company less profitable, and a company that isn’t profitable will soon die.

          • Sectionhand

            Unions are destroying themselves through a combination of greed and utter stupidity .

        • Otter

          The union supporters seem to be running scared. Afraid if people are given a choice it will be the end of them. Scare tactics at best…

        • tickmeoff

          Freedom to work and live in poverty. Human beings are selfish by nature. If they can pay workers less, they will.
          North Carolina is calling, live in a 20 year old trailer and drive a 15 year old car, because that is all you can afford, and that’s with working over time. How low can you go Joe!

      • Mr Fahts

        Unions are dying. Good riddance.

        • 2Cents

          And they know it too — they are killing themselves. Once there was a need for unions but they run their coarse. If buckeyes would just take a few minutes to see how they measure up to the Right to Work states they might be able to vision a modern Ohio — but I doubt it.

          • LorainCountyVoter

            Compare wages with union states against right to work states for the same job. You couldn’t afford to live.

          • 2Cents

            Union jargon, compare the cost of living — like New York or California, its all relevant. No person should be forced to to provide financial support for an organization as a condition of employment. Right-to-work laws prohibit mandatory union membership and initiation fees while allowing non-union employees to receive the same wages and benefits. States adopt Right to Work laws to improve their economies and become more attractive to businesses — ask Texas, North Carolina, Florida or any of the 24 states. Wake up Elyria (Lorain County) and look what is happening to your town. Don’t you think its time to maybe give an alternative a chance before you end up like Detroit?

          • Sectionhand

            Like New York and California where the Democrats have driven the cost of living through the roof ?

          • Mr Fahts

            I could, but I guess that’s what happens when you actually work and don’t just pay dues to some parasitic organization that takes my money and pumps me full of antiquated BS rhetoric.

    • Mr Fahts

      You union sheep would vote for a sack of potatoes if it was registered as a democrat.

      • kingharles

        I probably would. as long as the sack of potatoes was pro-union.

  • SniperFire

    What a maroon..

  • onesears

    The Wreck of the Edmund FitzGerald?

    • Sectionhand

      Why didn’t I think of that ?

  • oldruss

    The Chronicle-Telegram is late reporting on this story. It has been on top of Cleveland.com since Friday afternoon, and was “above the fold” in the Saturday morning edition of The Plain Dealer, with columns by Brent Larkin, Phillip Morris, an editorial cartoon by Jeff Darcy (attacking the GOP), and an editorial by The Plain Dealer Editorial Board. Other newspapers around the state have also been covering this, including, but not limited to, The Columbus Dispatch and The Dayton Daily News.

    It is note worthy that while FitzGerald was without a valid Ohio’s driver’s license, from 2002 to 2012 (as reported by The Plain Dealer and others), the President of the Cuyahoga County Council, C. Ellen Connally, told The Columbus Dispatch that she had seen FitzGerald driving his car many times when he was alone, which is a violation of Ohio law. She parks her car in the county garage near FitzGerald’s.

    This is more than just parking in a shadowy parking lot on Clemens Road, within sight of at least three and maybe five hotels/motels, and two all night gas stations, with a women in your car, not your wife, at 4:30 a.m.

    • SniperFire

      ‘The Chronicle-Telegram is late reporting on this story.’

      It breaks Andrew Young’s heart to have to report it at all. Alas, sometimes the news just can’t be buried.

      • Sis Delish

        Yep, reporting on this for Young was like waiting for a cyst to burst… it hurts, but when it bursts, all is better. LOL

      • oldruss

        I would have thought, that, even here in Lorain County, that the self-destruction by THE Democrat candidate for governor of Ohio, who has effectively deep-sixed not only his campaign, but will probably drag down the entire Democrat state ticket with him, would be newsworthy. Apparently, not everyone thought so.

    • tickmeoff

      Russ, you already were voting for Kasich. So any story that brings disgrace to the opponent will be a good story to you. Historically we are a Republican state, and probably always will be. The last decent governor we had was Jim Rhodes. Kasich has ten times the money Fitzgerald has.
      The only way Kasich won’t win is to have a major scandal. It is Kasich’s election to win, the only one who can screw it up is himself.

  • golfingirl

    “He said Friday the group of people with whom he had been traveling had gotten lost and he was trying to connect with them.”

    Really?……..It was 4:30am.

    He was only trying to “connect” with one person that night.

    • Otter

      He should have cleared his version of the story with the woman he was with, she released a statement saying they had gotten separated from the group of people they were traveling with, and stopped to “map out a route” to the hotel. It appears the only thing that got lost in this story is the truth.

  • 2Cents

    Maybe he got lost looking for Chappaquiddick Island.

    • tickmeoff

      Like the Limbo! How low can you go!

  • golfingirl

    If he is not smart enough to get a driver’s license, how can he trusted to run a state?

    “FitzGerald had scheduled his license renewal several times, but things kept coming up…..”

    He had 10 YEARS!

    • Brian_Reinhardt

      Have you seen the lines at the BMV?????

      • Sectionhand

        We all deal with them . So should he !

        • Brian_Reinhardt

          Sarcasm…is what it was.

      • oldruss

        He was, during this period of time (2002-2012), a Lakewood city councilman, an assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, the mayor of Lakewood, and the Cuyahoga County Executive. Do you really think, that a call to the local DMV office, would not have gotten FitzGerald a spot at the front of the line, if not an after-hours, personal appointment?

        • Brian_Reinhardt

          Uh, that was meant as sarcasm…lol

          • oldruss

            Some of FitzGerald’s apologists are not above that level, unfortunately. Guess your effort went right over my head.

    • Bruce Tennant

      One can’t rush into these things……you have to figure out which BMV to go to, get the money together for the fees…….oh and map out your route…that’s the most important part…. I’d say 10 years shows good and prudent planning…… perhaps if I don’t renew my license I will just apologize to the officer who stops me….I will let him or her know I am being cautious and still in the planning phase of my renewal

  • robertloggia16

    Looks like someone got caught getting their blarney stone kissed.

    • Sectionhand

      She was eating that Irish spud in his pants !

      • Sis Delish

        In her case, and considering it was FizzyGerald, there was a Potato Famine going on…

  • Joe

    Well I think all of them are crooked. Kasich though takes money that went to the cities and said, I balanced the books! I suppose I could not pay my mortgage or car payment and say I have a surplus also. Jobs Ohio? Don’t get me started. School vouchers? Please… Oh this company needs money or they will leave Ohio. Wrong. Political pay backs. So Fitzgerald or Kasich. Both are idiots. Most people only vote for one issue any way no matter how good or bad they are.

  • Creepy Gun Toting Cracker

    Laws don’t apply to him, maybe he should be a police officer….

  • SniperFire

    I wonder if this Fitzgerald clown might not be mildy wetodded.

  • SniperFire

    Laws really don’t matter anymore, anyways. Brave New World of lawlessness.

    ‘A shocking video shows a New Jersey cop responding to a complaint about corruption by asserting that law enforcement officers no longer need to follow the Constitution because it has already been decimated by President Obama.’

    http://www.infowars.com/cop-if-obama-doesnt-follow-the-constitution-we-dont-have-to/

  • Sectionhand

    Democrats seem to think that an apology will get you out of any kind of scrape . I don’t know of a single judge in Ohio who would let me off with an “apology” were I to find myself in the same situation . More likely , the judge would throw the book at me .

    • oldruss

      A well timed ‘mea culpa’ worked for Teddy Kennedy, after that unfortunate night (July 18, 1969) on Martha’s Vineyard when Mary Jo Kopechne died; which, by comparison, makes FitzGerald’s antics seem rather trivial, I suppose.

  • Chan

    I’m not sure what the big deal is unless he has been cited for driving without a valid license. I would assume a lot of Senators and House Rep really wouldn’t need license because they are chauffeured around?

    • golfingirl

      So do you really think he has not personally driven a car over this 10 year time period?

      Remember, he refused to have his parking garage records released when he was the county executive.

      He was driving to work…a county executive does not have a chauffer.

      • Chan

        I’m sure he drove but can it be proven (tickets, video footage)? I haven’t kept up with him until recently, offices he held weren’t in my county.

        • golfingirl

          Probably just have to ask his own family, friends etc.

          The point is, he knew he had no license, but probably felt priviledged and did not need to have one.

          We all break the law at times when driving….speeding, rolling through stop signs etc.

          The issue is not about “breaking” the law, but the fact he felt he was above it.

          If it was a few months, I could understand it…..but not over a 10 year period.

        • oldruss

          It was reported last week by The Columbus Dispatch, that none other than C. Ellen Connally, President of the Cuyahoga County Council reported seeing FitzGerald driving alone many times. Their parking spaces in the county garage were near each others.

          When he had a Temporary License, he was required to have a licensed driver in the passenger seat next to him. He was driving illegally every time he drove alone; and, of course, he was driving illegally every when he drove without any license at all, which was a majority of the years between 2002 and 2012.

          Understand, as an unlicensed driver, HE HAD NO INSURANCE. That is unacceptable.

    • Otter

      Seriously? It’s okay as long as you don’t get caught?

      • Chan

        Not exactly what I said. My point is that I’m not sure why this is such big news when he wasn’t convicted nor charged with a crime AND local politicians blatantly break the law and the headlines aren’t as huge as this article.

        • Otter

          Might have had something to do with the woman he was with, at 4:30am….

  • bigmacky

    but I’m a democrat – don’t judge my moral fiber – just vote for me – I can do NO WRONG

  • bigmacky

    no – unions always protect their own – city of lorain – worker caught with heroin on city time at a city owned facility used a city vehicle to buy it. city of Elyria – worker arrested for DUI – on city time in a city vehicle – later OD’s (sad) at home – the list goes on and on and on and on – if you are a stewart, echinlaub, rothgerry or horwedel or brubaker ect – its a free pass NO MATTER WHAT – stop the NEPOTISM