Analysis: There's One Takeaway From The 'Gang Of Five' Texts Released Thursday

Mar 7, 2019

One thing was abundantly clear in the over 600 pages of text messages and emails from the "Gang of Five" Cincinnati Council members – they have no use whatsoever for Mayor John Cranley.

No "hail to the chief" in these pages (which you can read for yourself here).

Here's Council Member Wendell Young on March 16, 2018, talking about Cranley and then-city manager Harry Black:

"Just got a call from Harry's lawyer and then from Harry regarding their being told that I am the fifth vote on a separation package. I haven't spoken to that little sucker (Cranley). He just flat-out lied to Harry and his lawyer."

Or this, from Chris Seelbach, in a text exchange from March 9, 2018:

"So Cranley told Harry at 2 p.m. today to resign or he'd launch a smear campaign against him."

How about this exchange from March 13, 2018? Four council members – P.G. Sittenfeld, Wendell Young, Tamaya Dennard and Chris Seelbach were on the line:

Sittenfeld: "FYI, Harry just told me he's going to shut down the settlement talks and fight this. Obviously a fluid situation, but that's what he just said."

Dennard: "Good."

Sittenfeld: "He's public with it."

Seelbach: "Cranley just called a 3:30 p.m. press conference."

Young: "Mini-Trump is lying again."

And in case, you were wondering if the five council members were unaware they might be doing something illegal with their group texting, there was this exchange on March 20, 2018:

Landsman:

"I also worry that we're coming close to opening ourselves to a Sunshine Law issue with this text thread."

Sittenfeld:

"A very fair consideration."

Of course, it did not stop them from continuing the conversations for months to come.

And one council member, Chris Seelbach, had something to say about the serious illness suffered by Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman's wife. Pamela Smitherman recently passed away from her cancer. He also did some armchair psychology on Cranley and the vice mayor.

Seelbach:

"And the fact that he is using his wife, saying 'While I'm home taking care of my dying wife,' is disgusting."

Sittenfeld:

"It is really grotesque. Using that for a political agenda is actually staggering."

Seelbach:

"Yup. As I've said for six years, both Cranley and Smitherman seem to have serious mental illnesses."

Credit Jim Nolan / WVXU

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