As McCloskey's Resignation From Council Takes Effect, New Trouble Emerges - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

As McCloskey's Resignation From Council Takes Effect, New Trouble Emerges

Former councilman Bob McCloskey prior to his resignation. Former councilman Bob McCloskey prior to his resignation.

TOLEDO -- The vacancy sign is burning bright from the 21st floor at One Government Center. Bob McCloskey's resignation from Toledo City Council took effect at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday.

Since 1993, McCloskey has been a popular Toledo councilman. In November, he finished second in the at-large race for a seat on council. But a criminal investigation and a lawsuit involving alleged bribes -- and his alleged attempts to influence council -- led to two felony bribery indictments and have forced the long-time public official to resign. He cited those issues in a general way in his resignation letter.

Despite all his troubles, McCloskey continues to have plenty of supporters. Mayor Carty Finkbeiner says he still can't believe the allegations. "I know Bob to be a person who never sought a dollar advancement for himself, personally. That just wasn't part of his makeup," the Mayor said.

McCloskey appeared in Lucas County Common Pleas Court back in February. He stands accused of trying to force Pilkington in 2002 to put $100,000 into a retirees' prescription drug fund in exchange for a vote to change the zoning on some company-owned land for a proposed charter school.

A separate allegation involves McCloskey being caught in a federal sting accepting $3,000 in an alleged bribe. Despite these allegations, some residents in his former east Toledo district say they haven't changed their opinion of him. Bob Toth told News 11, "He's down to earth. I mean, he doesn't pull any punches as far as I'm concerned. A straight shooter, good guy."

Minnie Rysz worked with McCloskey at LOF. She said, "I have all the respect in the world for that man. He was a committee man. He did everything he could for the working people. Honest."

McCloskey's former colleagues on council point to his commitment to keep city parks in good shape and doing whatever he could to promote youth activities.

But now, on the very day Bob McCloskey's resignation takes effect, a new allegation has surfaced. This time it comes from an elected official who claims McCloskey tried to influence his vote a few years ago by making a cash donation to his political campaign account.

Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz, who's also a former Toledo City Councilman, told the FBI he had a questionable encounter with McCloskey in 2002. It involved legislation that Kapszukiewicz was crafting to help control the adult entertainment industry in Toledo.

Kapszukiewicz was leading the charge to form a new city law to restrict certain activities inside strip clubs and adult book stores. He says McCloskey met with him to try to get the legislation watered down, but Kapszukiewicz refused.

Kapszukiewicz says, "I just came into my office one day and out of the blue there was an envelope with a couple hundred dollars in it, intended to go into my campaign account -- but I knew it wasn't right." He says he told McCloskey "No, thank you."

Kapszukiewicz also said McCloskey didn't deny the money was from him. According to Kapszukiewicz, McCloskey said, "Okay, well, they're not bad folks. They're just trying to make a living," etcetera, etcetera."

News 11 contacted the District Attorney's office in Toledo Tuesday, but officials there would not comment on the most recent issue allegedly involving McCloskey.

Toledo City Council has 30 days to appoint a replacement for McCloskey.

Posted by PJS