Lawsuit and accusations spice up Ohio auditor race

Nate Ulrich

The two candidates for Ohio auditor are both from the Akron area, but Barbara Sykes and Mary Taylor have been anything but friendly neighbors during this race.

The heated battle between the two has included racial controversy, a lawsuit and accusations of ethics violations.

Sykes, a Democrat, filed suit against Taylor, a Republican, in a U.S. District Court for conspiracy to incite racism after Taylor’s camp conducted a poll that asked respondents if Sykes’ presidency of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus affected their opinion of the Akron resident. The case was dropped when Taylor removed the question.

Democrats are also criticizing Taylor for allegedly encouraging fellow legislatures to provide funds for a building project at The University of Akron. Taylor’s husband, Donzell Taylor, would have received $331,000 as the construction manager of the project.

“I believe that both of those issues speak to my opponent’s character and do not reflect the open and honest leadership Ohioans are looking for this year,” Sykes said in an e-mail interview.

Taylor’s campaign then filed a complaint to the Ohio Ethics Commission after Sykes allegedly misquoted her in a televised campaign ad.

“If Barbara Sykes can’t even get a quote right, how can we expect her to audit the state’s financial statements?” Taylor said.

Despite their differences, Sykes and Taylor both said they want to bring accountability to the state government, which has been under fire after Republican fundraiser Tom Noe mishandled a $50 million investment in rare coins and collectibles for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

“Years of scandal and incomplete explanations for missing or mismanaged money have left most Ohioans with little confidence in their state government,” Sykes said.

Taylor, a certified public accountant, said her professional experience gives her the ability to bring professional standards and ethics to the state auditor’s job.

Contact public affairs reporter Nate Ulrich at [email protected].


Name: Barbara Sykes

Party: Democrat

Age: 51

Residence: Akron

Political experience: 44th District state representative, 2000-present; Summit County Auditor’s Office, 1989-2000; Akron City Council, 1983-1989

Name: Mary Taylor

Party: Republican

Age: 40

Residence: Green

Political experience: 43rd District state representative, 2003-present; Green City Council, 2001-2002