The first shot was fired in 2003. Jim Petro had just been elected attorney general. He was looking for enemies -- loosely defined as anyone who didn't give him money. He found them in the badlands of Akron.
Nefarious patent attorneys were being paid to protect the University of Akron's scientific achievements. Useful work, to be sure. But they hadn't paid Jimmy. He would teach them to show respect.
Friends called him Jimmy Danger, but never to his face. He had shellacked businessman hair that, if used in the fashion of a woodpecker, could pluck a man's eye out. This was the Suge Knight of the state legal-contracts racket.
You want in? You pay Jimmy.
Don't wanna pay Jimmy? Friend, you're eating from a plate of trouble.
So Jimmy had those patent attorneys whacked. Forced the school to hire his guys.
Didn't matter that they knew shit about patent work. Didn't matter that it would end up costing the school an extra $246,000.
Didn't matter that Jimmy had spent a lifetime railing about waste and inefficiency at universities.
Sometimes principles get set aside to prove a greater point. And when it really came down to it, the only real principle was this:
You gotta pay Jimmy.
Yeah, the university could have gone to the press. Those eggheads sure like to yap about how they're doing righteous by the people. But they got principles too -- namely doing righteous by their own ass.
Besides, they were connected. They had Alex Arshinkoff, Summit County Republican chairman and a former university trustee. He was just as mean as Jimmy. The kind of guy who threw secretaries out of work if they didn't support him. Let your kids chew on some of that, little lady.
It's called family values. Don't support Alex? Then your family don't eat.
But Alex wasn't your typical crime boss. He'd seen more leather bars than a Streisand impersonator. Once picked up a kid hitchhiking. Pawed at the boy like an amorous Labrador. Kid escaped at a traffic light. No harm done. If a middle-aged married guy can't explore his homoness, what's the point of freedom?
That's what our boys in Iraq are fighting for.
Technically, Alex wasn't supposed to be tight with the Republicans. They've got a thing about old men who proposition nice young college boys.
And, technically, the university wasn't supposed to be tight with him either. It's usually not partial to guys who screw secretaries out of their jobs.
But principles are principles, business is business. If you don't understand the difference, well, you ain't from around here, are you, son?
So the university, the Republicans, Alex -- they just kept their mouths shut. Didn't say a word for three years. You want good government? Do it yourself, pal. They were too busy leading, and Ohio leaders can burn through $246,000 the way you do Marlboros at happy hour.
But sometimes principles are worth upholding. That time usually comes when you can use 'em to screw your enemies.
It's now three years later. Jimmy Danger wants to be governor. That's where the real stealing's at. Problem is, he's gotta climb over Ken Blackwell to get there. This ain't gonna be easy.
Kenny's so close to God he knows where all His birthmarks are. Made a name for himself upholding church, family, and the right to smack around some homos whenever he needs headlines. He's more Judas than Jesus, but God loves all His children. Even the weird ones.
Of course, Kenny ain't supposed to be with Alex -- seeing as how Alex is queerer than an Olympic figure skater, and seeing as how Kenny's been known to say them faggots is worse than damn farm animals.
But Kenny made Alex his campaign chairman anyway. Remember them principles we were talking about? Well, the first principle is money. And since Alex can raise money, there ain't no other principles.
That's how Kenny sees it, because that's how God sees it.
Now if you're boned up on your Old Testament, you'll know that God had a gift for smiting His enemies. So Alex and Kenny figured they'd get Old Testament on Jimmy's ass.
They got ahold of them whacked patent lawyers, who suddenly got a conscience, suddenly wanted to talk about how Jimmy screwed them outta that government work. And just as suddenly, the university decided it cared about wasting money. Decided it wanted to release all its evidence showing how Jimmy ran the scam.
Jimmy tried to defend himself, but he's always been better at stealing than talking. Besides, the dumbass put it all in writing. The headlines kissed his governor's campaign goodbye.
But what the headlines missed is that Alex, the patent lawyers, and the university had been running the same scam. They just conveniently left that part out.
The year was 1999. The university was kicking over major jack to the Buckingham, Doolittle firm. It just so happened that Alex's niece worked there. But when she left two years later, the university contracts left with her ["The Godfather in the Closet," June 11, 2003]. They arrived as a couple at the Amer Cunningham firm -- the same firm now squawking about Jimmy's evils.
But don't worry your pretty little head about how this all turns out. The state has plenty of money left for the lawyers to steal. The university has plenty of money left to waste. And though Jimmy's probably done in politics, suites at rent-by-the-hour motels are being named after him as we speak.
And Kenny? He might just be our next governor. It'll be nice to have a God-fearing man in office.
But he should show some gratitude and buy Alex a pretty young college boy. The man has earned it.