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Taft discloses unreported gifts



Published: Fri, August 26, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Regional Chamber was one of the groups that gave the governor gifts.

By JEFF ORTEGA

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

COLUMBUS -- A week after he was convicted of misdemeanor ethics violations connected to gifts he received but didn't disclose, Gov. Bob Taft has reported eight additional groups of gifts that his office said were "inadvertently" not revealed previously.

The governor's office said Thursday it had provided the Ohio Ethics Commission with information on the unreported items including $119.50 in gifts from the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber on March 24, 1999.

According to the governor's office, the gifts from the Youngstown-Warren chamber were a $26 portfolio, a $22.50 shirt, a $65 jersey and a $6 hat.

Reid Dulberger, Regional Chamber executive vice president, said he and colleagues couldn't recall the specific gifts given to Taft at that time. He said the governor spoke at a Chamber breakfast in the spring of 1999, and a portfolio embossed with the Regional Chamber logo is a traditional gift for chamber guest speakers.

Other gifts

The governor's office also reported that Taft, a Republican, received, but didn't previously disclose:

UA $100 box of steaks from The Richard E. Jacobs Group on Dec. 8, 1999. The Jacobs Group is a Cleveland-based commercial real-estate firm.

UGifts totaling $128 from former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, a Republican, in 2000. They include a $25 book on Jan. 19, 2000; a $50 autographed football on March 13, 2000, and $53 in pottery on July 8, 2000.

UAn $87 Ohio River Bear Co. bear from the Meigs County Commissioners on April 9, 2001.

UA $125 framed photograph from Murphy Beading Designer Portraits on Jan. 2, 2002. No further information was available on the firm.

UArtwork worth $50 and a $50 book from The Consulate General of the People's Republic of China on Jan. 22, 2003, and March 2003, respectively.

UMiscellaneous items worth $177 from the William Howard Taft National Historic Site on April 13, 2004. The governor is President William Howard Taft's great-grandson.

UA $35 photograph and a $50 framed medal from the Defense Supply Center Columbus on April 28, 2004, and May 11, 2004, respectively.

Mark Rickel, a spokesman for the governor, called the omissions a "clerical oversight."

Public officials are required by state law to disclose gifts of more than $75.

Last week, Taft was convicted in Franklin County Municipal Court on four misdemeanor ethics counts. Taft was fined $4,000 and ordered to apologize for failing to report on his state financial disclosure statements several rounds of golf and other gifts, as required by law.




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