Yesterday, Governor Kasich appointed Thomas W. Gunlock to the Ohio Board of Education.  By a 10-9 vote, the Ohio State Board of Education elected Gunlock today to be its Vice-President.  The vote was the result, the Columbus Dispatch reported, by a new Republican majority created by the five appointments Kasich made yesterday and the newly elected members to the Board.  But for the obstructionism of the Ohio State Senate Republicans who rejected two batches of nominations Governor Strickland made to that body, Kasich would not have been able to engineer Republicans leading the State Board of Education.

Earlier today, I mistakenly confused donations by a Bill Gunlock of Dayton as likely being donations of Thomas “William” Gunlock.  I was wrong.  Bill Gunlock is Thomas’ father.  And, that actually makes things worse.  Let me explain:

In 1973, Bill Gunlock formed Sabre Systems and Service, a private Dayton company that provides real estate appraisal services.  Almost immediately, Gunlock landed a multi-million dollar contract with the Cuyahoga County Auditor.  A guy named George V. Voinovich.


Three  years later, it would be revealed that Voinovich had vacationed at Gunlock’s vacation home in Michigan.  Then Montgomery County Robert Roderer—who’s office also awarded Sabre a major contract—also was revealed to have stayed at Gunlock’s vacation home [Source: Columbus Dispatch, “McNeal to Testify Before Grand Jury Looking at Campaign Gifts.” (May 24, 1992)] .

When Governor, Voinovich defended the practice saying he paid Gunlock $250, over Gunlock’s objections. However, even then, that is roughly half of what Gunlock admitted he charged non-clients for the use of his vacation home. [Ibid.]

Over the years, Sabre Systems grew getting more and more contracts with various counties, including several no-bid contracts.  Over that same period, Gunlock, his family members, and his employees also, coincidentally, became significant campaign donors to various Republicans, especially Voinovich.  The Gunlock family donated over $54,000 to Voinovich’s 1990 gubernatorial campaign. [Ibid.]

In 1992, it was reported that Sabre Systems was known to send to officials in position to award Sabre contracts tickets like to Cincinnati Reds games unsolicited.  By 1989, Bill Sabre retired from the company, sold it and left his son, Thomas (yes, the same one Kasich appointed to the school board yesterday) in charge of the successor entity.  [Ibid.] Which means that the unsolicited gifts the company was giving to government officials in 1991 occurred when Thomas Gunlock was in charge.

Still, the political empire of Bill Gunlock left for his son Thomas stretched from one corner of Ohio to another.  The sky was the limit…

[Continued in Part II:  The Grand Jury Cometh…]