Does Rumpke "own" your township trustee candidate?
Rumpke has now invested at least $16K in the Colerain Township trustee race, donating another $8K to a current trustee, Dan Unger. That's about as much that was spent by all candidates in the 2016 trustee race.
Rumpke began dumping tons of cash into Colerain Township politics after Rumpke learned that the county is undertaking an effort to rein in the landfill industry. Colerain currently hosts the 6th largest landfill in the country, Mt. Rumpke, located in the township. With Rumpke's new proposal to expand another landfill in SW Hamilton County, the area will become the "Trash Capital" of the United States. While the county commissioners have had the authority to pass rules overseeing the landfill industry since 1989, the county has never exercised such authority. Hamilton County's lack of rules on the industry has caused all the neighboring jurisdictions to dump their trash on SW Hamilton County for decades causing significant breeches in the quality of life and environment in the area. Over half the garbage dumped in Colerain comes from other counties who have rules prohibiting the landfills from negatively impacting their counties. Under these rules, Rumpke will have to meet standards established by the county commissioners in order to accept trash at their facilities.
Rumpke is currently greasing the palms of trustees in order to usurp ratification of the rules by the jurisdictions in the county. Each township and city within the county will be required to take a vote to approve the new rules. Rumpke is hopeful that by dumping cash into candidates' campaigns that they will vote against ratification and be able to continue dumping trash into SW Hamilton County.
Ulrich accepted her cash-for-trash donation in June. Her campaign has been rife with concerns from the onset. First, Ulrich was recruited by the ousted Ritter-Inderhees team that was run out of office in 2016 and received the Republican Central Committee endorsement despite not being a registered Republican, per Board of Election records. Then, she moved to rob "Raj" Rajagopal of his earned endorsement with the GOP by virtue of being the incumbent - something never done in Republican politics - and receiving the most votes in any recent township election. Concerns were further raised when it was learned that Ulrich had a judgment for over $4K against her for failing to pay her taxes in 2017. Then, to top it off, she alienated the local German heritage organizations by holding a fundraiser next door to the Donauschwaben Society during the organizations biggest fundraiser of the year. Ulrich is an extraordinary person. However, she is a novice and it appears the political machine is eating an otherwise good candidate.
Unger made his play for the cash-for-trash funds in late August. About this same time, Unger had a conversation with a reporter from The Cincinnati Post. When asked where he stood in regards to providing better oversight to landfill operations, Unger unequivocally stated that, "I'm not going to ever oppose Rumpke." he attempts to hide behind the settlement agreement with Rumpke which only states the township will not contest or oppose the last landfill expansion. There is no perpetual requirement that the township trustees forever abandon their responsibilities to the people of Colerain as it relates to Rumpke. Unger knows full well, as its been fully vetted in the public meetings, that the agreement does not pertain to any other matters related to Rumpke. However, it seems Unger and Ulrich are the only people who can not separate out the landfill expansion from their duties as trustees to work in the best interests of its residents.
Taking money from Rumpke with this issue pending, really stinks.
The Cincinnati Post reached out to Trustee Matt Wahlert, and at the time of this publishing, he refuses to answer our inquiries.