Ohio Supreme Court candidate Bill O’Neill, a former judge and perennial candidate for higher office in Northeastern Ohio, is known for his advocacy of progressive policies. Records obtained by Media Trackers Ohio suggest that perhaps O’Neill should have better managed his own finances before advocating for increased government spending.
During his failed Congressional run in 2008, O’Neill criticized incumbent United States Representative Steve LaTourette, a Republican, for failing to engage in deficit spending for the expansion of passenger rail lines in Lake and Ashtabula County. O’Neill called the installation of high-speed rail lines “clearly a jobs issue.”
A retired judge of the 11th District Court of Appeals, O’Neill is currently employed as a nighttime-shift nurse in the pediatric emergency department of Hillcrest Hospital. In the past, O’Neill served as a union community organizer for the Communications Workers of America, the AFL-CIO, and the Ohio Civil Service Employees Associations.
His 2012 campaign marks his third attempt to be elected to the Ohio Supreme Court, and his fifth overall attempt at achieving higher office. O’Neill failed to defeat LaTourette in 2008 and 2010, and failed to be elected to the Ohio Supreme Court in 2004 and 2006.
In 2003, before he retired from the District Court of Appeals, the Columbus Dispatch reported that O’Neill owed over $22,000 in unpaid property taxes. According to Geauga County Deputy Treasurer Jennifer DeRenzo, O’Neill had failed to pay his taxes for the past five years, and his property in South Russell was days away from being foreclosed upon by the county.
O’Neill called his delinquency “a stupid mistake on [his] part,” and noted that he had applied for a home equity loan, in order to acquire the money to pay his debt.
In 2012, his campaign was found to have violated Ohio’s Judicial Code of Conduct, as he was knowingly misrepresenting himself as a sitting jurist. Complaining about the state Court of Appeals’ verdict, O’Neill told the Toledo Blade that he did not believe that “how we elect judges in Ohio makes any sense,” going on to note that this is not the first time his campaign for judicial office was found to have violated the law.
O’Neill continued, noting that his seemingly quixotic campaign for higher office has spent more money fighting legal challenges, than on the actual campaign itself.