Did the Dispatch get it right?
Recently, Dean Narciso, reporter for the Dispatch, published an article about the Worthington Spectator (read here).
Narciso, a Worthington resident, does a decent job exploring whether or not the publication itself is a political ad. It’s revealed the Spectator is actually a community publication.
I have known Narciso professionally over the years, and I was happy to talk to him about my involvement in the Spectator. Like this email update, I try to keep residents informed through various media.
Narciso has misquoted me in past articles and he misquoted me here. Not that it matters too much for this article, but I like reporters to be accurate.
One of the sub-headlines states I was editor and publisher of the Spectator until 2016. In fact, I told him I was editor and publisher from 2009 until 2016 of The New Standard, central Ohio’s Jewish publication.
The origin of the article
While on the phone with Narciso, he mentioned several times transparency is the core topic of his article. I respect this as a topic and asked him if he would be citing the origin of the story. He said he had no intention of getting Matt Gregory involved.
Matt Gregory is on the Worthington Community Improvement Corporation (CIC), the city’s non-profit economic development branch. Members of this quasi-government organization are public officials because they hold and manage city-owned property and work with city staff directly to secure projects on behalf of the city.
I served on the CIC for nine years until I was term-limited in December 2022. I served with Matt Gregory for several years and he brought his experience as a commercial real estate broker. He also has served as the president and spokesperson for Building Worthington’s Future, a 501c4 social advocacy group whose board members are mainly land use planners, architects, developers, and brokers.
Building Worthington’s Future has come out in strong support of my opponents this election.
Connection to the Dispatch
Matt Gregory works in the same office as the Dispatch and used his influence with his neighboring business to convince a senior reporter to write an article about the Spectator. The Spectator highlights Building Worthington’s Future’s slate of candidates accurately as being supporters of high-density residential development.
The senior reporter asked Narciso to write the story, and a week later it was published.
Development in Worthington
Matt Gregory – the public official on the CIC – is also the broker for commercial real estate at the Worthington Gateway project (https://worthington.org/665/Worthington-Gateway). And, recently he just announced he is broker for the Boundless (Harding Hospital) project. According to Boundless CEO Dr. Patrick Maynard, “Matt was selected because of his extensive knowledge of the city of Worthington…”
Matt has extensive knowledge because he is a public official for a quasi-governmental organization whose purpose it is to target development and economic development.
During the candidate podcast on Amplify Worthington in September, I stated, “there are individuals, candidates and council members who stand to gain financially from this high-density paradigm shift.”
This is happening.
To be clear, neither I nor any business entity I am affiliated with received any money from the city consultant, Energy Alliance. That could be a potential conflict of interest.
Of course, Energy Alliance has done great work for the city and has saved residents thousands of dollars of electric bills while using 100% renewable energy sources. Why wouldn’t they want to advertise that information to the community they serve?
In short, a public official of a city-sponsored and city-staffed organization is:
Doing high-dollar business with several companies who work directly with the city to develop in Worthington
Leading an advocacy organization of developers and other community members who stand to gain financially from high-density development
Publicly supporting a slate of candidates who support high-density development
Calling in favors to high-level representatives at central Ohio’s largest news organization
Teaming with others to contact a city vendor, and coerced the vendor to write an apology letter to the city for no reason
Narciso didn’t mention any of this in his article. I believe in providing residents with facts and letting the reader decide what to think.