Clout: Oh complains about News coverage

Posted: September 23, 2011

 DAVID OH is dancing a political two-step when it comes to our reporting on his misleading claims to have been a Green Beret.

The Republican City Council at-large candidate published two full-page ads in the Daily News apologizing for "any confusion or misimpression" he created with those claims in his campaigns.

But then Oh's attorney sent the Daily News a letter demanding an apology and retraction of the column that revealed the details of Oh's military service.

Oh's attorney curiously injects race into his letter, writing: "For your information, Mr. Oh is an Asian American Republican running for office in the upcoming election, in a city with a rapidly growing Asian American population."

Oh, who called himself a Green Beret in campaign materials this year and in 2007 and 2003, was assigned to a Special Forces unit for training in the early 1990s. He failed to complete the training.

His attorney notes that Oh had a military designation as a Special Forces officer.

Oh, in his published apology, says that was a temporary military designation, making him a "Special Forces candidate," not a qualified Green Beret.

Oh's attorney also takes issue with a follow-up column detailing Oh's arrest and acquittal on gun charges. The attorney claims the column "presented unsupported claims that are in fact incorrect."

He doesn't cite any specific error.

Oh told us he was twice questioned by police in the 1990s after accusations that he pulled guns on people in his Cobbs Creek neighborhood. He was arrested and charged in a third incident.

Oh denied having pulled guns in the first two incidents, but confirmed that he had been armed in the incident that led to his arrest.

He was charged with firing in the air to scare away people he thought were prostitutes and drug dealers but were really undercover police officers.

Oh's attorney claims he "has been threatened and his reputation affected" by our reporting. He asks the Daily News to send his letter to our insurance company as "a statement of a potential claim" - a lawsuit threat.

An attorney for the Daily News replied last week that we stand by our reporting and see no basis for a retraction or apology.

DiCicco consulting

Councilman Frank DiCicco has a little more than three months to go before his fourth and final term in office ends.

But don't look for him to cash his Deferred Retirement Option Plan check and then quietly retire.

The South Philly politician is already handing out business cards for his next gig: Lobbyist and political consultant for Philadelphia Strategies Group LLC.

Never heard of it? That's because DiCicco registered the new company in late July after deciding in March to drop his bid for a fifth term.

DiCicco had been dogged on the campaign trail about his decision to enroll in DROP, which became a flash-point of controversy after the city Law Department said it was legal for elected officials to take a DROP payment, retire for one day and return to the city payroll.

DiCicco had a consulting business on the side during his first term in office but dropped it when he became too busy with City Hall work. Now DiCicco will have the time to focus on lobbying and political consulting.

The state Ethics Act prohibits DiCicco from being paid to directly lobby Council for one year after he leaves office.

"There's life after Council, they tell me," DiCicco chuckled.

GOP judicial dispute

Yet another scuffle within the ranks of the Republican City Committee means the party will not have candidates in four vacant judicial spots on the Nov. 8 general- election ballot.

Party general counsel Michael Meehan emailed ward leaders last week, noting that two candidates for Common Pleas Court withdrew from the ballot late last month.

Former Bar Association Chancellor Sayde Ladov and attorney Fran Shields told us they had withdrawn because they faced slim odds of winning.

A third Common Pleas seat is open because Judge Howland Abramson is not seeking retention this year. And a Municipal Court seat is open because Judge Jimmie Moore stepped down to run for Congress.

Meehan suggested that the GOP fill the vacant ballot positions for Common Pleas with three Democrats already listed on that party's side of the ballot - Angelo Foglietta, Vincent Johnson and Thomas Nocella.

That ticked off West Philly ward leader Matt Wolfe, who hit reply-all with a long complaint comparing the idea to a controversial deal two years ago.

"We are never going to build a political party in Philadelphia if we are simply an arm of Bob Brady's Democratic Party," wrote Wolfe, referring to the congressman who chairs the city's Democratic Party.

Monday was a deadline to make the ballot move.

Meehan told us it didn't happen because he had not gotten enough responses from the ward leaders he emailed.

"I get grief if I do it and I get grief if I don't do it," Meehan said.

Quotable:

"The way Democrats win, they have two big cities with huge concentrations of voters and then overwhelm the rest of the state."

- Rick Santorum, former senator now running for president, endorsing a GOP plan to change the way electoral votes are cast in Pennsylvania.


Have tips or suggestions? Call Chris Brennan at 215-854-5973 or email

brennac@phillynews.com.

Check out the Clout blog at:

www.phillyclout.com and follow on Twitter @ChrisBrennanDN.

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