PolitiFact Shoots Down State Reps Claim About Wendy’s Founder

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No deathbed conversions here.
  • No deathbed conversions here.

Only days after deflating a State Rep’s claim that bargaining agreement protesters in Columbus used the statehouse as a personal porta potty, PolitiFact strikes again, this time dismantling an Ohio GOPer’s statements about America’s favorite fast food baron, Dave Thomas.

In a guest spot on 90.3’s “Sound of Ideas” show, State Rep Jay Hottinger riffed about Ohio’s high estate tax, a piece of tax code red tape that forces older Ohio residents to relocate over the state line, according to Hottinger. His prime example was Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s.

"Dave Thomas left the state literally on his deathbed to avoid the estate tax," Hottinger said during the show.

Sniffing a heady trace of possible prevarication, PolitiFact ran the Licking County Republican’s comments through the ringer. Nope, it turns out. Completely false.

Thomas, who died in 2002, had lived in Fort Lauderdale since 1982, after retiring. Although no one knows how estate taxes played into his decision, it’s unlikely Thomas relocated solely for that reason, as PolitiFact points out.

If his primary goal at that time of his move was to limit the tax exposure his estate would have after his death, he must have been pleasantly surprised to discover that he also gained the year-round ability to play golf (which he loved) and to cruise on his 90-foot yacht, the I. Lorraine (named for his wife), which he was able to dock behind his home.

PolitiFact slapped Hottinger’s claim with the “Pants on Fire” ranking on its Truth-O-Meter.

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