MANSFIELD – The city of Mansfield pulled its affiliation with the upcoming Fourth of July fireworks at Mansfield Raceway for what some people believe are racist comments on Facebook.
Mansfield Raceway, under the ownership of Grant Milliron, last year announced that Kevin Ruic, 71, of Avon Lake, would promote a series of events in 2015 at the track on Crall Road.
In a letter dated Feb. 13, 2015, to Ruic, Mansfield Mayor Tim Theaker said the city has determined it will “have no affiliation or endorsement of your organization’s event to be held July 4, 2015.” The News Journal obtained the letter through a public records request.
“This includes any and all advertising or promoting,” the letter said. “The city further requests that you not use the phrase, ‘Mansfield Freedom Festival’ in promoting your event, as we do not wish to give the impression that we sponsor or endorse your event. … Finally, if you are in need of traffic control and/or security for your event, that must be solely arranged by you and at your cost.”
Mansfield attorney Eric Miller told Theaker the city “should not provide economic aid to so-called ‘job-creators’ when their jobs and their influence in the community will be tinged with as much hatred as they can possibly get away with.”
Numerous posts that people could consider offensive can be seen on Ruic’s Facebook page.
I am all for free speech and telling it like it is yet have to agree these remarks are are above and beyond what we need as a community event such as this. Its a sad day for sure, how ever this glass house Mayor should let the people decide. My question in this association issue WHY would the City provide a free service for one business and not others anyways? I question why Mansfield City puts its good name in jeopardy promoting ANY event not knowing this before hand? It appears others knew this mans antics yet the City did not? – MP Admin
The initial post that drew attention…
Facebook comment that does not explain why the above comment was made, sorry I missed the Al Sharpton. At first glance folks would not see a problem with the race baiting Al Sharpton, the above comment was over the top. What I don’t understand is WHY Mansfield leaders have ANY association or promotion of a business UNLESS they have done their homework and backgrounds of all involved. Many people knew of this mans rants yet the fair City Officials including the Mayor did not? Come on, people don’t change over night so my next question is WHEN did the City become affiliated? This comment was made MONTHS ago and they are now just denouncing it? Surely there is MORE to this matter yet to unfold, maybe we will get luck with a non censored site someone will speak?
“Racist rants like Mr. Ruic’s are really intended to set the stage for segregation enforced by violence,” Miller said in a Dec. 17 letter he wrote to Theaker. “Regardless of what laws are on the books, a return to Jim Crow is possible if people like Mr. Ruic create an atmosphere of paranoid racial hatred. So, any apology he issues is simply a tactical move so he can bide his time until the community appears more ready to hear his message. People who remain silent in the face of that message can go from being an overwhelming majority, to perceiving themselves as a minority in danger of being beaten for speaking out. Those kinds of transitions can occur fairly quickly, and the way to stop it in any community is to speak out forcefully in the first instance.”
This Mansfield Attorney has it right, speak out against wrong doing among City officials and see what happens? How ever unlike Mr Ruic they will not use a real name, they will hide behind anonymous to attack public opinion. I personally have endured their mouthpiece Drew Tyler’s slanderous and wrongful attacks yet the officials won’t denounce this, just say when you go looking for trouble you bring it to your own doorsteps! Sure will be interesting what comes of this being Mansfield can’t undo their mistake in who they do business with, so STAY OUT OF BUSINESS for this is what happens when you associate with the wrong people. They get exposed, and you will too! More to come I am sure???? – Folks who live in “glass” houses shouldn’t be in office anyways, you say????
In a letter to Theaker dated Jan. 6, Miller thanked the mayor for the message he left him in response to his previous letter.
“I understand that the city currently has no funds available for discretionary economic aid to businesses of the type I referred to in my letter. Thus, my request of you is currently a moot issue,” Miller wrote.
“I ask you and your economic development director to notify me if you learn at any time of any effort to provide Mr. Ruic with any form of discretionary economic assistance from the city. There are many people who would want to be heard in opposition to any such plan, and I am just one of them. I thank you for this assurance.”
Ruic, when contacted Friday, said city officials, including the mayor and law director, met with him to tell him the city did not want him to use the city’s name in promoting the Fourth of July event.
The racetrack promoter defended his comments on his Facebook page, calling them “tongue-in-cheek” and “just jokes.”
“I abhor what’s going on in Ferguson and … and I dislike the president of the United States, but that’s my right to dislike him as a Republican,” he said.
Ruic said he grew up on the east side of Cleveland, was raised in an Irish-Catholic family and taught at the Police Athletic League there. He said his family remained for a long time in the neighborhood of 105th and Sinclair, long after most people moved out.
“Do you think we should be coddling people who brought U-Haul trucks to Ferguson when looting started so they could take stuff out? Do you think I have a right to say something about it? Yes, because it’s wrong,” Ruic said.
Ruic said he doesn’t hold back on “the scum of the world,” including Al Sharpton.
“I think I’m the farthest thing from a racist,” he said. “Am I a racist? Nah. But I have no use for people who break the law and use their color to walk away from it.”
On Friday, Ruic said he plans to pay for the Fourth of July fireworks, estimated to cost $50,000.
He said the thrill show prior to the fireworks will fill all 7,400 seats at the track. Tickets will be $15 each for the two-hour thrill show. Kids ages 12 and younger will be admitted free.
Anyone who wants to come for just the fireworks can do so for free and remain outside the gates on the spacious property, Ruic said.