Ohio GOP State Senator faces nasty threats from unions on Facebook, in restaurant

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
Font Size:

With the whole world watching the labor unions’ behavior in Wisconsin while they’re protesting Gov. Scott Walker’s budget plans, the media hasn’t paid much attention to their antics in Ohio – until now. Newly-elected Ohio Republican State Sen. Frank LaRose has received several distasteful threats from his state’s union members, including a high-ranking official in the police officers’ union.

LaRose, a 31-year-old Iraq war veteran, was the tiebreaking vote in Ohio’s Senate, which just sent a bill similar to Wisconsin’s budget bill to the State’s House of Representatives. That caused Michael Piotrowski, the general counsel for the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), to siege LaRose’s Facebook page.

“Funny thing about cops,” Piotrowski posted on LaRose’s Facebook wall, “they hold a grudge.” In another comment responding to someone’s criticism of his comment, Piotrowski wrote: “Nick, with all due respect, I don’t care about your views. You don’t know what you are talking about.”

Perhaps most surprisingly, though, the cop union’s top lawyer compared Republicans calling union violence “union thugs” to using the “n-word.” “When Republicans talk about ‘Union Thugs,’ they may as well be calling people the n-word.”

The folks who discovered Piotrowski’s comments and identity were College Republicans from the University of Akron. Joe Manno, the chair of the student group, told The Daily Caller that Ohio’s bill had some provisions that are “even more anti-union than Wisconsin, so the unions around here have been going kind of crazy, similar to what’s going on in Wisconsin. But, it’s starting to get a little more violent and a little more hostile environment here in Ohio.”

After the vote LaRose cast for the union-crippling budget bill, Manno said, “the kind of hostility and the un-civility started coming out on his Facebook wall. It really started to escalate.”

After Piotrowski wrote the nasty comment on LaRose’s Facebook wall, Manno and other College Republicans took to defending LaRose under the impression that Piotrowski was “just some upset cop.” But, after Googling around for him, Manno said he and his friends found out he was a high-ranking leader in the state’s cop union.

“The three of us went on Frank’s [LaRose’s] wall defending him, and he was actually directly addressing and threatening the three of us as well,” Manno said in a phone interview. “We didn’t know who we were dealing with at first. We Googled his name and got to his LinkedIn page. He’s been General Counsel since 1999 for the state FOP.”

“Comments like Mr. Piotrowski’s are alarming to say the least,” said Rob Lockwood, a spokesman for the College Republican National Committee. “If his words are true, it’s scary to think that there would be a double standard in law enforcement practices that would be detrimental towards anyone based purely on their political preferences. We thank Senator LaRose for his leadership on helping reform government, and we are proud of the Ohio College Republicans for helping bring this public display of corruption to light.”

That’s not the only nasty commenter Manno had to defend LaRose from. Another commenter, Peter Marinos, wrote: “Judas got 30 pieces of silver. What did YOU get Frank? Then Judas hung himself. You hung yourself politically. Plan an exit strategy.”

To LaRose’s defense came Tim Monaco, who wrote: “Frank, got my vote for life, and as I’m in his district, unlike you, that matters.” But, Monaco’s comment didn’t stop them either.

In a response to him, another union-supporter, likely a firefighter given his comment, Robert Hoch, said: “Tim you must be a coward just Laposer. We live in his district and lots of blue collar workers won’t be voting for him. Oh and one more thing Tim, next time ur house is on fire call a tea bagger. They have all the answers.”

LaRose faced even more nasty behavior from union organizers when he was at dinner after voting for the bill. The Columbus Dispatch reported he and a few other Republicans were at dinner that night at a restaurant near the Capitol when union supporters spotted them and came into the restaurant causing a stir. LaRose said “it could have [gotten physical.]” Police were called in, who dispersed the situation without making any arrests.

But, LaRose, a decorated green beret during his time in the military, told the local newspaper the union thugs’ disturbance was a setup and that he didn’t need “special intelligence training” to recognize that.

“It was planned,” he said. “They gathered as a group and waited until they had about 10 people before they caused a disturbance.”