(Editor's note: The deadline for letters to the letter regarding the election was Oct. 25. An exception is being made with this letter because it is a response to an editorial that appeared on the day of the deadline. Any other opinions on this topic will be posted online only.)
To the editor:
I am writing to rebut the Herald-Star's endorsement that Tom Gentile should keep his seat as Jefferson County commissioner ("Tom Gentile should keep seat Nov. 6," Oct. 25.)
I recently closed my long-running business in Jefferson County so that my husband and I could retire, and through the hard work of Progress Alliance, I was able to sell my business property to an out-of-town company. However, there was one person who did everything in his power to prevent this company from locating in Jefferson County, Tom Gentile. He had knowledge of the possible sale of my property because of his appointed position on Progress Alliance.
It is not fair that he had knowledge of the sale of my building, nor for him to use his inside information to try to block the sale of my building. I am sure many of you are wondering why he would block a new business from opening in Jefferson County, and the answer is simple - personal gain. He had more than one opportunity to purchase my property, but continually told me he was not interested. Then, when he found out there was a possible buyer, he immediately pressured me to sell him the property below the offer price of the out-of-town company so that he could lease the property to the out-of-town company.
Again, he only knew about the out-of-town company because of his appointed seat through being a commissioner. If it were not for the dedication of Progress Alliance, my personal attorney and council members in Steubenville, Jefferson County would have lost dozens of new jobs. The company has plans to hire up to 200 local people to work for them. Yet there is the level of confusion that he was helpful and in favor of bringing this company to our area. He advertises that he is open for business and works well with economic development organizations, but I can honestly tell you that I know this to be completely false because of my first-hand experience.
So many people in Jefferson County want to move forward and away from elected officials helping themselves and their friends; however, the citizens of Jefferson County must get out and vote for new elected officials who want to put this county first. I am disappointed that the Herald-Star endorsed him, and I hope the readers realize this was a mistake and elect a new county commissioner for the Jan. 3 seat.