Anonymous postcard claims Copeland liedWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
Editor’s Note: Updated with added response
Some Toledoans have received a postcard claiming that Councilman Phil Copeland, running for Lucas County recorder, lied about receiving his GED. His opponent Councilman George Sarantou said he had nothing to do with the cards.
“I am appalled at what I believe to be an unfounded accusation against Phillip Copeland. This is obviously somebody’s idea of dirty politics,” Sarantou said at a news conference Oct. 24.
Copeland said the postcards are wrong and he has an online document to prove it. He attended Scott High School in the early ’60s and received his GED in 1976, the union business manager said.
Copeland questioned why Sarantou, a financial adviser, organized a news conference about the cards.
“That’s pretty low. If he didn’t do it, I can’t swear that he did it … but to even repeat it, if you didn’t have anything to do with it, then why did you repeat it?” Copeland said, adding that if the situation were reversed he would not have had a press conference.
“[Sarantou] wasn’t coming to try to disclaim that (the postcards’ claims), he was coming to put on a show,” he said.
Copeland said someone did tell him last week that they had heard he had not received a GED. However, the person declined to share where he or she received the information.
Sarantou said he received about seven phone calls Oct. 23 from people who were “troubled” by the postcard. He did not know how many people had received the card and said he had reached out to Copeland, but had yet to hear back.
“My campaigns have always been and will always be about my qualifications for the office I seek … If that is not enough to encourage people to vote for me, then so be it,” Sarantou said.
Copeland, however, said Sarantou did not contact him.
“George didn’t call me; if he called me, he didn’t leave a message,” he said.
Sarantou said he also contacted Lucas County Republican Party officials who said they also did not know the origins of the card.
The postcard encourages citizens to contact the media and “ask them why he (Copeland) lied.”
“He doesn’t even have a GED. He hasn’t even graduated from High School but he still wants to be the Lucas County Recorder. Is he even qualified?” the card reads.
At the end of the conference, Sarantou said, “I am asking the unidentified person, individuals or organization behind this postcard to stop this action now. The last thing the voting public wants now is more mudslinging by candidates vying for any office.”