There's talk that former Mahoning County Commissioner Frank Lordi, who served eight months of an 18-month prison sentence, has asked Gov. Ted Strickland for clemency. If granted, it would wipe Lordi's criminal record clean.
But the individual who prosecuted the former commissioner in 1999 for theft in office is expected to oppose any intervention by the governor. Atty. David Betras, who was appointed special prosecutor, has long maintained that Lordi has never admitted any wrongdoing, even after he was convicted by a common pleas court jury.
Indeed, aftter his release on shock parole in January 2002, Lordi filed motions for a new trial on the grounds that Betras had withheld information that could have cleared him. But the 7th District Court of Appeals ruled that the defendant and his lawyers could have obtained the information themselves.
So, why is the former commissioner so keen on getting his record cleansed? There are rumblings that Lordi wants to run for office again — perhaps even Mahoning County commissioner.
Should Gov. Strickland intervene in a case in which the jury found that during the time Lordi was commissioner he had two county building inspectors pick up political petitions while on county time?
Strickland is running for re-election next year and one of the issues he will undoubtedly confront is the Marc Dann scandal. Republicans can be expected to use the disgraced former attorney general as a symbol of corrupt Democratic Party politics. Clemency for Lordi would bolster the GOP's campaign.