Toledo Talk

Larry Kaczala dies after jumping from a Toledo Hospital parking garage

http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100608/NEWS16/100609727/-1/NEWS

created by toledoramblingman on Jun 08, 2010 at 01:59:12 pm
updated by admin on Jun 08, 2010 at 11:04:19 pm
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Sad day again for Toledo politics

posted by toledoramblingman on Jun 08, 2010 at 01:59:58 pm     #  

so weird

posted by upso on Jun 08, 2010 at 02:36:46 pm     #  

To say there is something more to this is an understatement.

posted by Molsonator on Jun 08, 2010 at 02:40:27 pm     #  

At first.......when I saw this headline (here on ToledoTalk.com), my initial thought was this had to be a a BAD joke on someone's part - posting a story like this.

WOW - this is a real suprise.

Kaczala was one of the few politicians in Toledo who I actually liked. Someone with a level- head, who was an all-around good person, who meant well.

When I was a senior at Start High School in 1992, Larry Kaczala was a guest speaker in my Political Science class. That was the first time I ever heard of the guy.

Sad story indeed....

My initial thought is to wonder if he received a poor (maybe terminal) medical diagnosis, and then decided to pull a 'Don Brondes,' and just end things - on his own terms.

Bizarre / Sad story indeed....

posted by WalterAnthony on Jun 08, 2010 at 03:08:08 pm     #  

I did an internship in the Auditor's Office under Mr. Lewandowski for two summers. Larry was always kind to us and took care to look out for us interns. Later, I remember he donated a Kidney to his sister. I ran into him several times and he always remembered my name and some antics we did at the Auditor's office. Hell of a guy.

posted by Molsonator on Jun 08, 2010 at 03:23:14 pm     #  

Maybe a good guy, but apparently had some demons lurking around. Whether real or imagined has yet to be seen.

posted by hockeyfan on Jun 08, 2010 at 03:48:49 pm     #  

Hockeyfan:

The only thing that is apparent, is that you are a MORON !!

posted by WalterAnthony on Jun 08, 2010 at 03:55:22 pm     #  

Agreed that LK was one of the "good guys" in politics, at least in his dealings with people. I had only pleasant interactions with him as a journalist, and he always took the time to return calls and offer his insights. We may never know what drove him to suicide (assuming that this is the case), but perhaps the shock of seeing such a high-profile person take his own life will wake a few people up about the warning signs of major depression.

Maybe - just maybe - this tragedy will cause someone to seek help who is entertaining thoughts of suicide. I feel terrible for his family, who now have to carry on with the burden of this senseless death.

posted by historymike on Jun 08, 2010 at 04:09:55 pm     #  

I attended a dinner years ago and Larry Kaczala was the speaker. He was hysterically funny, and everyone in the crowd laughed at his sense of humor, which is something I would have never guessed. He did establish AREIS as auditor, which other counties in our area still do not have, and is a big benefit to our area. To die in the way he did is very sad. He was obviously desperate, and in a lot of pain, whether mental or physical. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

posted by bikerdude on Jun 08, 2010 at 04:12:25 pm     #  

Oh, and I forgot to mention it was a bit cheesy and self-serving (not to mention downright mean-spirited) for the Blade to sneak in a Coingate reference in the coverage of the tragedy:

(quoting in case the Blade later edits out the tackiness)

Mr. Kaczala had unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) in 2004, a campaign that many felt cost him the auditor's race two years later because it allowed Ms. Lopez to raise the fact that convicted GOP fund-raiser Tom Noe and his wife, Bernadette, gave Mr. Kaczala $6,000 for his campaign to unseat Ms. Kaptur.

posted by historymike on Jun 08, 2010 at 04:25:17 pm     #  

The Blade's just tacky. WTF??

posted by billy on Jun 08, 2010 at 05:01:06 pm     #  

Wow. I saw the headline earlier today before the person had been identified. Never dreamed it was someone like this.

Thoughts and prayers to his loved ones.

posted by jmleong on Jun 08, 2010 at 05:15:42 pm     #  

I just called the Blade and spoke directly to Dave Murray. He said that in his opinion, the Coingate reference was news-worthy and they would be writing more about Larry's Noe connections in tomorrow's article! This is the lowest of the low. What a piece of $hit both Murray and the Blade are.

posted by dell_diva on Jun 08, 2010 at 06:08:21 pm     #  

LK had nothing to do with the investigations by the State or Feds.

Not surprising, but certainly sick.

posted by thomas on Jun 08, 2010 at 06:16:30 pm     #  

No matter what your politics, The Blade is really lacking decorum in this one.

posted by toledolen_ on Jun 08, 2010 at 06:19:42 pm     #  

That worthless rag has been lacking in far more than decorum for years.

May Larry rest in peace and may God Bless his family. Very sad.

posted by Foodie on Jun 08, 2010 at 06:48:29 pm     #  

I agree with you Billy, it was a completly crappy thing for the Blade to do, but I wouldn't think you'd be one to throw stones...

http://toledotalk.com/cgi-bin/tt.pl/article/42345/Ted_Kennedy_passes__RIP

posted by SensorG on Jun 08, 2010 at 07:43:03 pm     #  

Yeah... SensorG kinda has you pegged on that one, Billy.

shrugs shoulders

posted by toledolen_ on Jun 08, 2010 at 07:52:14 pm     #  

I had to vent some more about the Toledo Blade's post-mortem hatchet job on Larry Kaczala.

posted by historymike on Jun 08, 2010 at 08:19:05 pm     #  

"Shame on you, Toledo Blade. Your attempts to squeeze cheap ratings at the expense of Larry Kaczala are as unabashedly sickening as anything the paper has ever done, and one wonders how Murray and the writers associated with this vile nonsense can sleep at night."

Nice article, historymike. I couldn't agree with you more. The Blade doesn't care about accuracy anymore, just smearing people who work hard but who Block doesn't agree with so they get slammed, like LK.

I used to respect Murray as an investigative reporter, but he is so much a part of The Blade's "establishment" now that he's managing editor, I no longer hold him in such high esteem. He's now part of the problem that so many people see when it comes to The Blade. No wonder few people subscribe to that rag. I'm sure they'll "dig up" a bunch of nonsense on LK just to trash him some more.

posted by renegade on Jun 08, 2010 at 08:46:27 pm     #  

There is no law that says you have to pay respects to the dead, hockeyfan, just like there is no law that we prohibits us from running up to an old woman and screaming "WHORE!" or from hollering at a little kid that he will never amount to a goddamned thing in this bitter, uncaring world. OF course, most of us pay at least a little concern to social conventions, and dancing on a grave is more than just bad form: it is also bad karma, dude. But carry on with whatever makes you feel better.

However, I hope when your time comes that your friends and family will treat well your memory, no matter how you decide to behave after the death of Larry Kaczala or any other person you choose to blast after they have died.

posted by historymike on Jun 08, 2010 at 10:02:52 pm     #  

I'm one hundred percent with you Mike.

Hockeyfan, I understand where you are coming from... and that place is tacky as hell.

posted by upso on Jun 08, 2010 at 10:37:05 pm     #  

Few thoughts:

(1): Unspeakable tragedy. Whatever forces drove this man to take his own life we should pray never take hold of any of us. My guess is there's things that are gonna come out, either officially in print or on the TV or just the wagging of tongues throughout the Hills, that shed more light on this, if anyone's gonna care. And, let's face it, almost everybody will care, because that's what these stories do; they make us want to know more. We cannot help ourselves.

(2): Hockeyfan needlessly insensative. Second set of remarks especially were...oh, nevermind, they're not on here anymore with the 'revamping' of the thread. Well, ummm, that's interesting...

Alrighty then, moving right along...

(3): Now, this thing with the daily paper and it's early online obit---

Yes, it could have gone out without any mention of the Noe stuff. But, having said that, I honestly didn't think it portrayed Larry Kaczala in a negative light, at least not to the extent portrayed on here and elseshere. My guess is at least part of the reason it was included was this sitdown Kaczala himself did with the Blade 18 months ago:

http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090125/NEWS24/901250307

The daily's early obit Tues. (I say 'early' because there's bound to be one later today with more meat on the bones) said this that some find so offensive:

'Mr. Kaczala had unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) in 2004, a campaign that many felt cost him the auditor's race two years later because it allowed Ms. Lopez to raise the fact that convicted GOP fund-raiser Tom Noe and his wife, Bernadette, gave Mr. Kaczala $6,000 for his campaign to unseat Ms. Kaptur.'

The linked story above from 2009 concludes:

"Considering how the scandal affected the Noe conduits, many of whom cooperated with federal investigators under agreements that they wouldn't be prosecuted, Mr. Kaczala acknowledged that he is fortunate he didn't join in Noe's scheme. "Thank God I knew better [than to take the money]," Mr. Kaczala said.
In 2006, Mr. Kaczala lost his re-election bid for county auditor as Republicans surrendered their grip on the state amid the turmoil caused by the Noe scandal. "I hold them responsible," Mr. Kaczala said. "They betrayed everybody."

In other words, Larry Kaczala himself held the whole Noe debacle and everyone involved in it responsible for him losing the 2006 auditor's race.

Look, everybody involved in this Noe slimepit is gonna have it mentioned in their obits, when that time comes. Officially, Kaczala was on the outer edge of the hole, never charged and not guilty of anything except for relationships with some of the principals. But when he sat down with the local daily to talk about it all, he indirectly inserted himself into the 'story.'

I hope going forward whatever 'news' comes out regarding this man's suicide is treated with the appropriate tenderness.

posted by McCaskey on Jun 09, 2010 at 12:53:51 am     #  

"...a campaign that many felt cost him the auditor's race two years later because it allowed Ms. Lopez to raise the fact that convicted GOP fund-raiser Tom Noe and his wife, Bernadette, gave Mr. Kaczala $6,000 for his campaign to unseat Ms. Kaptur.'

The problem I have with the Blade is that it kept insinuating every time they wrote about Kaczala that Kaczala had done something wrong by taking the campaign contribution of Noe when in fact he did nothing wrong. The Blade knew this. Kaczala was cleared by the FBI. That should have been the end of it.

http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100609/NEWS02/6090364

In the above update by the Blade this morning, Jerry German, who worked in the auditor's office as director of the real estate division and chief assessor, said he didn't think Kaczala ever bounced back from the loss of his job as auditor.

“He was only two years, maybe two and a half years, away from retirement, before he had 30 years in and for some reason he was branded,” Mr. German said. “He was a pariah. No one would hire him or let him finish out his last two and a half years to get his retirement, and I am sure that was a contributing factor. … That had to hurt. It was devastating to him, I'm sure."

The Blade went too far, and a decent public official decided to end it all. This guy couldn't find a job anywhere, despite all his accomplishments as a public official. He was two years short of getting his pension, but nobody would hire him.

posted by bikerdude on Jun 09, 2010 at 06:34:11 am     #  

May God rest his soul and give comfort to his family.

posted by corky on Jun 09, 2010 at 07:01:29 am     #  

Amen.

posted by Molsonator on Jun 09, 2010 at 07:24:42 am     #  

Sensortool - Im a private individual expressing my opinions. The Blade is a newspaper supposedly reporting the news.

Tool and Toledolez, you might be able to see the difference.

posted by billy on Jun 09, 2010 at 08:04:30 am     #  

From today's Blade story:

Sitting apart from the rows of other parked vehicles on the open-air parking deck was Mr. Kaczala's bright blue Mercedes-Benz compact coupe. The car's doors were locked, though visible inside near the gear shift panel was a pack of Marlboro cigarettes, a lighter, reading glasses, a pen, and two open cans of caffeine-free Diet Coke. Alone in the leather-upholstered backseat sat a stuffed white toy elephant wearing stars of red, white, and blue.

I feel bad for the Blade employees who have nothing to do with content. But I have no problem with old newspapers dying off because an innovative form of journalism will eventually replace them.

Again from this past April's UT media forum notes:

Murray said he and John Robinson Block talk everyday about news stories and not about editorials.

Of course, the Blade's so-called news stories are obviously used as editorials or newsitorials. This is another Toledo-area story controlled from Pittsburgh.

posted by jr on Jun 09, 2010 at 08:06:55 am     #  

Toledolez? What are you, 12?

posted by toledolen_ on Jun 09, 2010 at 11:03:19 am     #  

Might be a good time to visit www.powerupfoundation.com

posted by Molsonator on Jun 09, 2010 at 11:55:46 am     #  

Former co-worker Jerry German, hit it on the head in the Blade story. He said Larry was a "pariah" and was "Branded" after his loss of the auditors office. He couldn't get a job that would allow his final 2 1/2 years of retirement time and that was, German said, "perhaps a contributing factor." I spoke with Larry the night he lost the job and he was shocked. He never got over being tossed under the bus by his former friends. Those of us who knew him , I'm sure, wish he had called to talk it over.

posted by max on Jun 09, 2010 at 01:25:46 pm     #  

'The Blade went too far, and a decent public official decided to end it all. This guy couldn't find a job anywhere, despite all his accomplishments as a public official. He was two years short of getting his pension, but nobody would hire him.'

Are we seriously now suggesting that the local daily is directly reponsible to what happened to Larry Kaczala yesterday?

Yes, the Blade will reference 'Coingate' at every available opportunity. Shame on them for trying to capitalize every 15 minutes on their Pulitzer. Yes, John Block is a puppet master yanking the strings from Pittsburgh.

But the paper also gave Larry Kaczala an open forum 18 months ago to freely discuss his involvement and non-involvement with the Noes, how it affected him in his auditor's race, and so forth.

Is it possible it was difficult for Larry Kaczala to find work because of what he told the Blade in Jan. of '09, that some folks in local GOP circles held that against him?

Why would long-time friends and associates of Larry Kaczala suddenly stop talking to him or helping him find work? Is it really all because the FBI talked to him--and cleared him--in the Noe stuff? Or because of what he told the local daily?

There are people out there who should know the answers, including one or two who used to contribute to local blogs like this, but I'm guessing they've been all lawyered-up and told to stop writing-and-talking in public about this stuff quite some time ago.

Meanwhile, in the vaccum of silence from them, it's always easy to blame the local media bully wearing the black hat.

posted by McCaskey on Jun 09, 2010 at 01:53:19 pm     #  

McCaskey - has any body blamed the Blade for the death?

Absolutely not!

There has been little speculation on this thread, and the majority of the specualtion has been by the Blade via German despite the coroner's office not confirming anything.

The complaint here is self-promotion via Noe/Coingate while reporting on someone's death who had nothing to do with it.

The complaint is tackiness after the death, not whatever before the death.

Historymike lays it out perfectly at his blog.

posted by thomas on Jun 09, 2010 at 02:02:36 pm     #  

I read bikerdude's post--or at least the paragraph I highlighted--as basically blaming the Blade.

Perhaps he didn't mean it that way, or I took it the wrong way. Certainly possible.

As far as the coroner's report--yes, that is still forthcoming, but the chief of police said Kaczala 'jumped'--not 'fell'--from the parking garage. The immediate assumption--not just in the paper but on blogsites like this--was that it was likely a suicide.

Yes, the local daily can be accused of tackiness. But don't you believe there's at least the possibility of a much larger story out there as to exactly why Larry Kaczala found if difficult to find work for two years?

It is the reporting in the Blade? Something else? Or a combination of both?

Look, if nothing else appears in the Blade or anywhere else about the events of yesterday and the speculation of why it happened, that's fine by me. Let the man rest in peace. But I think we both know more's going to be talked and written about this--both in the 'old' media and the 'new'.

posted by McCaskey on Jun 09, 2010 at 02:22:51 pm     #  

At 53 you can start a whole new life. If not here, somewhere else. Hell, hit the Virgin Islands and beach it. There is no nobility in suicide - and religiously (my belief) there are consequences to deal with. McCaskey I would add to your post by saying truly if an assault by the paper triggers this, something else is wrong.

posted by Molsonator on Jun 09, 2010 at 02:35:12 pm     #  

Rest in peace, Larry. You didn't deserve to be such a tortured soul and the crap that got thrown your way at the end.

- At 53 you can start a whole new life...

I think it was more complicated than that, Molsonator. I'm sure he would have done so to avoid killing himself if it was possible.

...There is no nobility in suicide - and religiously, there are consequences to deal with...

People who commit suicide just want the pain to stop. At some point, they just can't take it anymore. He must have been in a very dark place that he couldn't climb out of.

My beef with The Blade is that it brought up the Noe "coingate" scandal when announcing his death, though he was never charged. If he had been charged or convicted, then okay. Otherwise, they are just throwing dirt.

-But don't you believe there's at least the possibility of a much larger story out there as to exactly why Larry Kaczala found if difficult to find work for two years?

Possibly, McCaskey. I think German said it best when he said Kaczala never bounced back from losing as auditor, and that he was treated as a pariah. As you noted, I would like to know WHY was he treated as a pariah and WHY he couldn't he find work?

posted by gemini on Jun 09, 2010 at 05:39:10 pm     #  

I read the Blade's coverage carefully. I dont feel as though they did the late Mr. Kaczala any disservice. My take was that they portrayed him as the only honest and ethical individual who was tangentially and unwittingly involved in the Noe mess. They also portrayed him as extremely good at his job, bringing the Lucas County Auditors office into the forefront of the technological age. (Certainly no other office, such as the Engineer's office or the Dog Warden is as advanced with a public web site interface.) It is a mystery as to why someone so ethical and so talented couldn't find employment amongst those who knew him but I don't automatically assume anything sinister. Perhaps when he told the truth to the FBI some of the truth led to consequences for others.

posted by holland on Jun 09, 2010 at 06:35:47 pm     #  

Molsonator--I understand your feelings about suicide, but I agree with what Gemini posted. Some people get lost to the point where their thoughts on 'nobility' and how their 'religion' (assuming they have one) views taking ones' life simply are overwhelmed with stopping the pain. It must be a horrible place to be.

I know a little about depression--it runs in my family with an uncle and sister having battled it for years. Frankly, there are times in my life I've wondered if I'm dealing with it as well, or if it's just a mid-life crisis or something along those lines many middle-aged men and women face.

Depression can be insidious and strike anybody--my sister is a multi-millionaire who, thanks to her husbands' thriving businesses, has no worries about making the mortgage payment or paying monthly bills like most of us, her marriage was (is) solid and she had the support of people who wanted to help. There were no drug or alcohol issues. Yet there were times she didn't want to leave her house for weeks at a time or talk to other family members or friends. She is better now, but it was a long road back and she takes it day-to-day.

The economic downturn has greatly affected men the age of Larry Kaczala--'breadwinners' who worked hard all their life in successful careers only to find their homes devauled, their savings/investments eroded, and work difficult to find again once their job was lost.

I don't want to further speculate about Mr. Kaczala's situation other than it appears there were financial issues dogging him and long-time friends and associates, particularly at the local political level, seemed unwilling or unable, for whatever reason, to extend a helping hand.

I continue to believe there have to be people out there who know much more about this situation; maybe at this point its all moot--a good man is dead under tragic circumstances, and perhaps that's all we'll ever know.

posted by McCaskey on Jun 10, 2010 at 10:39:49 am     #  

Nice tribute here from Maggie Thurber (have to admit I was watching and wondering if she was going to write about this):

http://thurbersthoughts.blogspot.com/2010/06/remembering-larry-kaczala.html

Written with warmth and compassion. Nicely done.

posted by McCaskey on Jun 10, 2010 at 11:38:34 am     #  

Thank you McCaskey, for your comments above and then the link to my post.

posted by MaggieThurber on Jun 10, 2010 at 01:31:08 pm     #  

No problem--what's right is right.

I know you knew him for a long time and enjoyed reading your post.

posted by McCaskey on Jun 10, 2010 at 01:51:30 pm     #  

Any word as to services?

posted by Molsonator on Jun 10, 2010 at 03:35:08 pm     #  

Nice of you, Maggie, to tell us more about Larry and what kind of person he was. A big loss to our city. .

posted by renegade on Jun 10, 2010 at 07:03:07 pm     #  

I figured the Blade's ombdumbassman, Jack Lessenberry, would support the Blade's coverage of Larry Kaczala. Jack said:

I think The Blade story was a respectful account of what happened and of the former auditor's career.

Tom Noe and his wife, Bernadette, gave Mr. Kaczala $6,000 when he made an unsuccessful run for Congress in 2004.

That was before the "Coingate" scandal was uncovered by reporters for The Blade. Two years later, when the scandal was a huge story, Democrat Anita Lopez used the Noe connection in her successful campaign to defeat Mr. Kaczala. This was appropriate because the story was really both a news story and a form of obituary, which attempted to tell the story of Larry Kaczala's life and career.

Jacky never discussed the Blade's absurd reporting of the inside of Larry's car. What did the photo and description of the inside of the car have to do with Kaczala's life and career?

posted by jr on Jun 13, 2010 at 05:39:19 pm     #  

"Jacky never discussed the Blade's absurd reporting of the inside of Larry's car. What did the photo and description of the inside of the car have to do with Kaczala's life and career?"

I was at a party recently and that's what a lot of people criticized, too. I'm not surprised Lessenberry would support The Blade's coverage of the death. How he could support the paper's decision to mention "Coingate" in the article is beyond me. Ok. So he was investigated and cleared, which was in the article. But why even mention it if he did nothing wrong? Still burns me and a lot of other people I know.

posted by bikerdude on Jun 14, 2010 at 05:46:24 pm     #