Any lawyer will tell you, if you get pulled over by the cops or if they knock at your door, don’t say anything, in the case of a criminal investigation don’t answer questions or in the case of a traffic stop don’t argue with them. If you have to say anytihing in a criminal investigation, just ask to contact a lawyer. Pat Ford clearly has not absorbed this idea. He is persisting in trying to defend himself in the media. He is blaming the Housing Authority, specifically A Fulton Meachem for tryingto smear him, as well as claiming that bloggers threatened him (specifically Bram Reichbaum). Well, if a blogger lies about something, it is likely to come out eventually. The problem is, if Mr. Ford lies about something, and the media investigates, it is likely to come out now. It is reasonable for Mr. Ford to ask what conflict of interest he had as executive director of the URA and chairman of the board of the Housing Authority. It is *not* reasonable for Mr. Ford to assert that Mr. Meachem was trying to block an audit of the Housing Authority if no one else has heard of this attempted audit. According to the PG, the Vice Chair of the Authority said she had no knowledge of an attempted audit or any attempt to resist it. Also apparently Mr. Ford had previously agreed to leave the Housing Authority board, and then changed his mind. I myself have no idea of the timing here, whether it is related to Matt Hogue’s charges of inappropriate finances at the Authority.
On the other matter, the gifts of ties, cigars and a surround sound system, Mr. Ford claims that the surround sound gift retails for $215, below a $250 threshold for the state. Well, hell, you could get a $250 laptop, with printer and wi-fi, if you got in line at Best Buy, probably by midnight, for the sale on last year’s Black Friday. If Mr. Ford can demonstrate $215 is the price for his system, he should in fact be in the clear. But it is not the media he needs to convince (as least not yet), it is a State Ethics Board. Regardless of the value of the system, it ought to be declared, just to make sure Mr. Ford does not go over any yearly maximum, and in the interest of good government.
In a month a that saw the city-county merger plan and the Act 47 hearing, and will see the primary election, Mr. Fordhas to work hard to keep the spotlight on himself, and in doing so is begging reporters to dig into his personal life. If he lays low, lets the Ethics Board do his job, he could get away with the best possible result. But he seems detirmined to argue with the cops, to fix it.