Carleton S. Finkbeiner
Mayor of Toledo, Ohio
|Mayor of Toledo, Ohio|
January 1, 1994 – 2002
|Preceded by||John McHugh|
|Succeeded by||Jack Ford|
January 3, 2006 – January 4, 2010
|Preceded by||Jack Ford|
|Succeeded by||Michael P. Bell|
|Born||May 30, 1939|
|Political party||Democratic Republican|
|Residence||Toledo, Ohio, United States|
|Alma mater||Denison University|
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Carleton "Carty" S. Finkbeiner (born May 30, 1939, in Toledo, Ohio) is a Democratic Party (United States) politician who is the former mayor of Toledo, Ohio. First elected in 1993, he took office on January 1, 1994. In 1997, he defeated challenger Nick Wichowski to win a second term. Term limits prevented him from running a third consecutive time. He was succeeded by former mayor Jack Ford in 2002. Following his first administration, Finkbeiner served on the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority board. He joined the ABC affiliate in Toledo and hosted Carty & Company, a Sunday morning public affairs show. He also contributed a weekly editorial segment, It's Just Not Right! Finkbeiner left WTVG in May 2005.
On June 30, 2005, Finkbeiner announced that he would seek a third term as mayor. He won the Toledo mayoral primary, winning roughly 37% of the vote in comparison to 29% earned by incumbent Ford. On November 8, 2005, Finkbeiner was re-elected mayor. Finkbeiner was sworn in for his third term as mayor in a private ceremony on January 3, 2006. Finkbeiner has proved to be a very controversial mayor for the city of Toledo due to many of his policies, behavior, and public gaffes. Toward the end of Finkbeiner's third term as mayor a recall effort drive to remove him from office was successfully put on the ballot but was ultimately struck down by the Ohio Supreme Court due to technicalities. Carty announced that his third run as mayor would be his final one and he would not seek re-election. According to city finance records verified by the Toledo Blade Finkbeiner left the city with a 48 million dollar deficit which was inherited by Ohio Fire Marshall Michael P. Bell, an Independent, who succeeded Carty Finkbiener in 2010.
Carlton Finkbeiner announced plans to run for a fourth term as mayor of Toledo on August 29, 2015.
Finkbeiner was born in 1939 and raised in Toledo. He graduated from Maumee Valley Country Day School and received a B.A. from Denison University in Granville. Prior to his political career, he taught at Maumee Valley Country Day School, St. Francis de Sales High School, and the University of Toledo.
During his long career in public service, Carty has been a member of multiple parties. At various times and for various offices he has run as a Republican, a Democrat and an Independent. Finkbeiner served eight years as a city councilman and two years as deputy mayor.
As a city councilman, Finkbeiner led efforts to the change from city manager/council format of government to the strong mayor executive style Toledo currently has in place.
Known as much for his temper as his work ethic, many allegations surfaced throughout Finkbeiner's two terms, and more continue to surface in his third.
- Toledo restaurateur John Skiadas filed a lawsuit alleging that Finkbeiner physically and verbally assaulted him at the Erie Street Market in 2000. The lawsuit was dismissed by Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Charles Wittenberg in 2004.[dead link][dead link]
- In March, 1999, Finkbeiner called for a boycott of Little Caesar’s Pizza because of the franchise owners’ involvement in a proposed Rossford sports arena. Some Little Caesar’s stores renamed their Crazy Bread “Carty Bread”.[dead link]
- In 1997, the Finkbeiner Administration negotiated to convert the Beacon Place Apartments, an apartment complex in the Warren-Sherman neighborhood near downtown Toledo, into condominiums. Despite assurances from Finkbeiner's housing commissioner, James Thurston, that the city would not be held financially responsible for the project, the project collapsed because the Finkbeiner Administration failed to clear the sale of the properties with the federal government, which had financed the apartments. Toledo taxpayers lost $230,000 and could have paid more than $2.3 million. Thurston and Edwin Bergsmark (CEO of Cavista Corporation, the owner of the Beacon Place Apartments) were both convicted in this scandal.
- In her lawsuit filed in 1999, former city employee Carolyn Smithers claimed that Finkbeiner “accosted her with a ceramic coffee mug clenched in his fist” and shouted, “I ought to hit you with this!” She contends the mug struck the side of her face. Despite the fact that Finkbeiner denied the incident, Finkbeiner signed the $35,000 settlement on January 29, 2001.[dead link]
- In 1997, Finkbeiner phoned a 19-year-old West Toledo woman from his car to tell her that she may not keep chickens in her yard. Finkbeiner not only denied her a permit to keep the chickens, but he also "got very, very mad" at her.[dead link]
- Finkbeiner was the focus of a segment on The Daily Show poking fun at statements he made suggesting that Toledo could be the next Hollywood. During the interview, Carty expressed his ideas while the camera fixated on Toledo's most rundown neighborhoods, contrasting them with the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. The segment aired during the 1997–98 season.
- On July 1, 1998, Finkbeiner was fined $400 and court costs after pleading guilty to ethics charges when he was Mayor, realized a $10,000 profit from Owens Corning's purchase of his condo, and his failure to publicly report the gain.[dead link]
- He plagiarized a single line in his KICK-OFF speech in 1998.[dead link]
- Finkbeiner suggested relieving the problem of noise complaints from neighbors of Toledo Express Airport by selling homes nearby at low cost to deaf people.[dead link] In this case, Finkbeiner was probably set up, as the suggestion was in fact part of a routine by the comic Gallegher.
- In early 2006, political adversaries scoffed over the mayor spending $9,996 of city money to complete the installation of shower facilities in his city government building office. The project was considered "controversial" in part because the shower quote was originally $10,006, six dollars over a threshold that requires approval from City Council. The contractor was able to shave $10 from the project, thus avoiding a Council vote on the proposal.[dead link]
- In May 2006, he called Toledo's African American Fire Chief Michael Bell "King Kong" at a staff meeting. Finkbeiner later clarified his remarks as relating to the Chief's physical stature, and Chief Bell has acknowledged in public that he took no offense to the remarks.[dead link]
- In June 2006, Jack Smith resigned from his brief tenure as Chief of Police after what he described as a near-physical confrontation with the mayor after they exchanged words.[dead link]
- In January 2007, Finkbeiner claimed that both he and wife Amy were treated unprofessionally by Ottawa County sheriff's deputies when they tried to visit Amy's son, an inmate, on separate occasions. Amy Finkbeiner claimed she was not allowed to use a ladies' room at the jail, while Finkbeiner said he was denied a chance to visit after visiting hours had concluded. Sheriff Bob Bratton said the deputies were only doing their jobs.
- Also, in January 2007, Finkbeiner and his press secretary were sued by radio station WSPD, claiming that First Amendment provisions regarding freedom of the press were violated when the press secretary forcibly kept a station employee out of a public press conference. Finkbeiner's objection to the employee is that he produces opinions and editorials, and is not in fact a reporter on behalf of WSPD. On January 31, a federal judge granted the station a permanent injunction requiring Finkbeiner and his staff to admit station personnel.
- Finkbeiner has also suggested a café be built on the Martin Luther King bridge so city employees could eat there while the bridge was undergoing construction.
- In August 2007, Finkbeiner was confronted on two occasions by reporters because he parked in a handicapped spot and left his dog, Scout, in the car during a hot spell. Finkbeiner was ticketed and fined, but denied mistreating the animal.
- In February 2008, Finkbeiner refused to let a company of 200  Marine Corps Reservists engage in urban patrol exercises on the streets of downtown as well as inside the mostly vacant Madison Building, 607 Madison Ave. Toledo police knew about the event three days in advance, but it wasn't until the Marines arrived that "the mayor asked them to leave because they frighten people", said Brian Schwartz, the mayor's spokesman. Finkbeiner defended his decision to cancel the exercise, but in an e-mail to Marine Corps officials, he expressed support for the Marines and the military and invited the Marine unit to return to Toledo for training, but not downtown. In reaction to the uproar, Finkbeiner has offered conflicting explanations for his denial. During a radio interview on The Frank Beckmann Show on WJR-760 AM in Detroit on Tuesday, Feb. 12th, Finkbeiner used profanity to describe the situation he caused as a "fucking ruckus".
- In summer 2008, Finkbeiner spent nearly $80,000 of taxpayer money (without City Council approval) to renovate Bay 4 the Erie Street Market into a concert venue. According to the City Charter, the mayor may spend up to $10,000 without City Council approval. Finkbeiner broke the nearly $80,000 into 13 separate contracts under $10,000 to circumvent council's approval. Moreover, Finkbeiner tapped a local concert promoter, Rob Croak, to schedule events at the Erie Street Market. Croak was convicted on one count of forgery and has been arrested for but not convicted of underage alcohol sales, according to court records. The forgery conviction stems from a 2001 accusation that Croak falsified records to obtain a liquor permit. Also, Croak owes thousands of dollars in back state and federal taxes. Since December 2008, there have been no concert events held at the Erie Street Market, and the city has not recouped its investment in the concert venue.
- In December 2008, Finkbeiner stated in a press conference that he met with U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman to complain about radio station WSPD because of its coverage of him and his policies. Finkbeiner also called upon the U.S. Congress to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine.
- In 2009, Take Back Toledo (a group of Toledo area businessmen whose goal is to foster a pro-business, pro-jobs and pro-economic development climate in Northwestern Ohio) led a campaign to recall Finkbeiner from office. On April 15, the Lucas County Board of Elections validated 20,400 signature, enough to recall Finkbeiner. On April 20, Clerk of Council Jerry Dendinger hand-delivered a recall notice to Finkbeiner. According to the City Charter, Finkbeiner had five days to resign or face a recall vote on the November election. Finkbeiner refused to resign and hired a law firm to contest the validity of the recall petition signatures. If the recall goes on the November ballot, Finkbeiner will be the second mayor of a major Ohio city in state history to be on a recall ballot.[needs update] The first mayor of a major Ohio city to face a recall election was Cleveland Mayor Dennis Kucinich, whose recall was defeated on the ballot in 1978.
- In April 2009, despite Toledo having the lowest ratio of police per 1,000 residents in Ohio, Finkbeiner announced his plans to lay off an additional 150 officers. After the layoffs take effect, Toledo will have only 1.6 police officers per 1,000 residents.[needs update] In order to maintain a basic level of protection and safety on the streets, numerous units are being eliminated or reduced. Some of these units are the Gang Task Force, Mounted Patrol, School Resource Officer, Crime Analysis, Traffic, SWAT, Vice, and Community Services. Finkbeiner's explanation for eliminating the child-abuse division was that it wasn't needed because "the patrollmen can investigate these complaints in their spare time."
This controversy led the Toledo Police Department to file a lawsuit against the City of Toledo in an effort to stop the layoffs.
- In June 2009, Finkbeiner supported the $25 parking tickets issued by the Division of Streets, Bridges, and Harbor to residents for parking in their own driveways. He claimed the tickets were given due to a city law that prohibits parking on unpaved surfaces, which includes gravel driveways. Two major problems with the tickets were that the city law that had not been enforced for about 50 years was now suddenly being enforced without warning and that according to the Toledo City Charter only the Toledo Police Dept can issue tickets for parking, traffic, etc. and not representatives of other city agencies. Despite criticism, Finkbeiner ignored a press question asking if the fines were related to the city's financial woes.
- In June 2009, a video surfaced showing Finkbeiner breaking up a fight in Highland Park, calling one boy "fatso", "tubby", and "fat ass".
- Messina, Ignazio (2013-10-11). "Records support mayor on city's $48M deficit". The Blade. Retrieved 2019-05-20.
- toledoblade.com - Carty's back: The old one or a new one?
- toledoblade.com - Erie Street Market restaurant shuts down
- toledoblade.com - Judge dismisses lawsuit filed against Finkbeiner
- toledoblade.com - Foes say Finkbeiner’s ‘passion’ is really just abusive behavior
- Troy, Tom; Mahr, Joe (2001-12-16). "A look back at the Carty years". The Blade. Retrieved 2019-05-20.
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- Mayor kicks Marines out of Toledo : News : WNWO NBC24 Archived April 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- toledoblade.com - Mayor to Marines: Leave downtown
- - Erie Street Market shows will go on, city leaders say
- - Erie Street Market update Archived June 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- - Toledo Civic Theater Archived July 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
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- - Take Back Toledo
- - Clerk hand-delivers recall notice to Mayor Finkbeiner
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- toledoblade.com - 130 of 150 Toledo police layoffs to come from patrol ranks
- - Ohioans ticketed for parking in own driveways Archived June 19, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
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