Andrew Z: ‘I’ve had to pay the consequences’Written by Andrew Z | | firstname.lastname@example.org
I could “pack up and leave,” as many have told me, “because I’m not wanted in Toledo.” But I’ve chosen to fight and get my name back. I’ve had several morning radio job offers outside of Toledo and Ohio and my family and I have thought about leaving and just “starting over.” But I have been welcomed and embraced by this community like nowhere I’ve lived before. We have a house here, my two daughters were born here, my mom moved here from California to be with her two granddaughters and my wife’s sister has moved here from Wisconsin to be closer to her sister. Needless to say, we aren’t leaving.
I have honestly tried to make a positive difference in this community. When Keith Dressel was tragically shot I was out in the community collecting money for his wife Danielle. When Lake Local High School needed a grant I broadcasted my entire show live from the school to make sure they got it! When Children’s Wonderland was in danger of not being seen by kids at Christmastime I took on the project and made sure the kids could enjoy this Toledo tradition. When a woman tragically had her son and brother killed in a car accident and then had her house burn down I led the effort to build her a brand new house at no cost to her! I received a badge that says “brother” from the TPD which I will treasure forever. I didn’t do these things because I had to … I did them because I truly do care.
Many say that my plea was to avoid jail time and I should be “thrown in the slammer.” All I ask is that you speak to someone that’s involved in the legal system and I’m pretty sure that they will tell you that the offenses that I’m guilty of aren’t even offenses you would serve jail time for.
Now I’m not a saint and I’m not perfect. I make mistakes everyday. I’m just trying to lead a better life everyday. But I’ve never been in trouble my entire adult life. This incident doesn’t define who I am and I won’t let it.
It’s a mistake that I made and I’ve had to pay the consequences:
I’m currently doing everything the courts have ordered, I have used all of my 401(K) to pay the back taxes, I have paid back my employees, I’ve lost three businesses, I have lost my job, I’m on unemployment and food stamps for the first time in my life, I have suffered public humiliation and I’m in the process of filing for bankruptcy. And I’m currently completely broke. Please believe me when I tell you I have not “gotten off easy.”
The only thing that has helped me “keep it together” is the time I have been able to spend as a stay at home dad with my almost 3-month-old daughter Kenzley. She has been the one bright spot of the last 5 months.
I realize it’s much easier, and more fun, to persecute rather than to forgive … but I’m not asking for forgiveness … I’m just asking for a second chance. The lease holder of the “Metropolis” building at the Docks was going to give me that second chance. Then pressure from vocal Toledo residents caused the city to step in and put a hold on the deal.
I have two passions in life … radio and restaurants. I was going to be given the opportunity to take the hard lessons I’ve learned over the last year and apply them at a spot on the Docks that’s only open one day a week. We were going to use the kitchen and add another restaurant option at the Docks to a building that’s closed over 95 percent of the week.
I love the Docks! When I first came to town almost 6 years ago I had my first meal there and was impressed from then on. Some say the Docks best days are behind it but I truly believe that its best days are ahead for this crown jewel of Toledo! I also believe that I still have so much to give to the city that has given me and my family so much joy and happiness!
Yes I’m asking for a second chance … and if I screw up again then run me out of town, with pitchforks if you would like, and I will go!
If you don’t think I’m sincere, have questions or just want to yell at me please call me on my cell phone (419) 345-3375 … I would be happy to speak with you.
Thanks for your time.
Andrew “Z” Zepeda, morning radio host