Ohio Supreme Court orders Ed FitzGerald key card data release, but backs county's initial refusal

From The Plain Dealer The Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered Cuyahoga County to release key-card swipe data for former County Executive Ed FitzGerald to the Ohio Republican Party, but the split ruling gives both sides ammo to argue they won the debate.

In a 4-3 ruling, the Republican Party won the right to the data showing FitzGerald's comings and goings from the county building while he was county executive.

But the court also held that Cuyahoga County acted within its authority when it initially rejected the GOP's public records request under an exemption for security records in state law.

Matt Borges, chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, said Wednesday it was important for the party to see the case through. It reaffirms the party's belief that the records should see the light of day, he said.

"We were willing and ready to abide by the Supreme Court's decision either way. We're glad we got this done," Borges said. "I think the only person playing politics on this was Ed FitzGerald. He successfully blocked the release of this information until after the election and that's what he wanted."

Current Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish also praised the ruling.

"We are pleased to see the Ohio Supreme Court agreed with our position that the records were protected at the time Executive FitzGerald was in office, until such time as he left office," Budish said in a statement. "In today's opinion the Court held that because Mr. FitzGerald is no longer the County Executive, the key card data is no longer a security record."

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