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Chief of staff suspended for using phony name



Published: Sat, June 11, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The police union leader said he immediately recognized the official's voice.

TOLEDO (AP) -- The mayor's chief of staff was suspended for using a fake name to call a local television news show while a police union official was taking questions.

Toledo Mayor Jack Ford suspended Jay Black Jr. on Friday for five days without pay. Black won't lose his $92,500-a-year job.

Gregg Harris, president of the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association, was a guest on a live program on WTOL-TV on Tuesday when Black called in. Harris was talking about police jobs and retirements, among other topics.

Identifying himself as Jeff Lowenstein, Black said the mayor hadn't laid off safety personnel despite budget problems and asked Harris to respond.

Harris said he immediately recognized Black's voice but didn't want to confront him on the air. He met with the mayor's aide Friday.

City Law Director Barb Herring said Black has admitted he made a mistake and apologized. "It was just a lapse of judgment," she said, adding that the mayor was angry.

On-air coincidence

Herring said it was a coincidence that Black used the name of an actual Toledo lawyer as his alias. Herring said Black wasn't acquainted with the attorney.

"I'm surprised and curious," said Jeff Lowenstein, the attorney. "I love mysteries, and this is the most mystery I've ever had in my life."

Lowenstein said he has written to Black on behalf of his clients but has had minimal contact with him otherwise.

Lou Hebert, WTOL's assistant news director, said the station informed the mayor's office of what Harris was discussing and invited the office to send a representative.

"We certainly would have allowed him on the air had we known it was him," Hebert said.




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