This podcast is about you: The Cincinnatian. Let The Enquirer's Jason Williams and Sharon Coolidge make the complicated local issues affecting your daily life easy to understand. And have more than a little fun in the process. On the ballot or in the streets, we are here to help you out. Because that's SO Cincinnati.
That's So Cincinnati: Paycor Stadium deal was so secret it had two code names
The effort to force a stadium naming-rights deal between the Cincinnati Bengals and Paycor was so secret it had not one, but two code names.
Internally Paycor called the deal Project SoFi, a nod to the name of the stadium where the Bengals played in the 2022 Super Bowl. Norwood-based Paycor was already a team sponsor, so talking about the Bengals' Super Bowl appearance wouldn't seem out of the ordinary.
Meanwhile, the Bengals' internal code name for the deal was Project Lightening, a name Elizabeth Blackburn, the team's director of strategy and engagement, came up with. It's a nod to Paycor's competitor, Paycom, which has the naming rights to the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder Paycom Center. (Get it? Thunder and lightning.) And it references just how quickly the deal came together.
Holmes and Carly Graman, Paycor's marketing and communications manager, revealed the code names and much more about how the deal came together on The Enquirer's "That's So Cincinnati" podcast.
That's So Cincinnati: Angenette Levy reports from America's most high-profile trials
If it's a high-profile national trial, chances are Cincinnati-based veteran courts and crime reporter Angenette Levy is there.
The Law & Crime network host and correspondent has been on the ground in Wisconsin for the Kyle Rittenhouse, in Virginia for Johnny Depp-Amber Heard and in Minnesota for Derek Chauvin trials in the past year.
And a big reason why Levy's been there: Courts in those states allow cameras in the court room.
Levy, the former Local 12 reporter and anchor, is outspoken about the need for federal courts to begin following most state courts and allow cameras in the courtroom.
"It's time," Levy told The Enquirer's "That's So Cincinnati" podcast. "With the technology, we have to evolve and give people a peek into the system."
Here in Cincinnati, the issue of cameras in the courtroom came up amid the recent federal public corruption trial of former city councilman P.G. Sittenfeld. Federal court policy prohibits cameras and all electronic devices in the courtroom for federal trials, something that has frustrated the public and journalists, particularly on high-profile cases.
Levy recalled a recent discussion she had with a federal court source.
"This person said they think it hinders justice and people start performing because they believe they're on a stage and they're playing to the cameras. And maybe a little bit of that is true," Levy said. "But I believe in transparency. Courts should be accessible to everyone. Why are we not getting a peek inside? I think it's silly. People are going to perform whether there's a camera there or not. Court is kind of a theater."
Law & Crime is a digital network that serves a similar purpose as Court TV. Law & Crime live streams high-profile cases on its website and social media platforms. Levy has been with the network since late 2020, and Law & Crime often sends her across the U.S. to provide live reports from trials.
The network often sends Levy across the nation to provide live reports from the courtroom. Levy was in Florida this week reporting on the trial of the Parkland school shooter.
Levy cohosts Law & Crime's "Sidebar" daily podcast. She also hosts the local radio show "Simply Medicine" at 2 p.m. on Saturday on 55KRC.
That's So Cincinnati: Former federal prosecutor weighs in on P.G. Sittenfeld verdict
You think you were surprised at everything you heard in the P.G. Sittenfeld trial?
So was the guy who oversaw the public corruption investigation into the former Cincinnati city councilman and other Ohio politicians. And David DeVillers was part of a team of prosecutors who helped convict Saddam Hussein on war crimes and genocide.
"The biggest thing coming into becoming the U.S. Attorney ... it wasn't the murders and the terrorism and the cartels, it was the corruption that was the biggest surprise for me," DeVillers, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, told "That's So Cincinnati" podcast.
DeVillers left the U.S. Attorney's office in February 2021 with the change in the White House. But the Columbus resident kept close tabs on the Sittenfeld trial, which ended last week with the Democrat being convicted of bribery and attempted extortion.
DeVillers declined to answer specific questions about the investigation because it overlaps with cases that have not yet come to trial – and he's no longer in office. DeVillers, who in 2020 said Cincinnati City Hall had a "culture of corruption," declined to discuss why the investigation that ultimately led to Sittenfeld's arrest happened.
But DeVillers, originally hired as an assistant federal prosecutor during President George W. Bush's administration, talked about the big picture when it comes to the federal government cracking down on corrupt politicians.
"That's one of the FBI's highest priorities," DeVillers said.
These days, DeVillers is a partner in the Columbus office of national law firm Barnes & Thornburg. He's working as a technical adviser for the producers of the popular Showtime show "Billions," a drama about power and politics. DeVillers also is an adjunct instructor at Ohio State's Moritz College of Law.
Thats So Cincinnati: Why trial lawyer, former councilman believes 'strong likelihood' P.G. Sittenfeld will be convicted
Trial attorney Steve Goodin, a former Cincinnati City Councilman, joins "That's So Cincinnati" podcast to provide legal analysis on the public corruption trial of former Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld.
Goodin, of Downtown-based Graydon Law, has been in the courtroom to watch most of the proceedings since the trial began June 21.
Asked after the prosecution rested its case on Wednesday what he thought the outcome might be, Goodin said:
“I have thought from the beginning that there was a pretty strong likelihood of him being convicted. I still feel that way after having heard the evidence. It isn’t just some subjective thing. When I look at some of the cases around the country that are most like this case … the (former Gov. Rod) Blagovich trial in Illinois and the (former Gov. Bob) McConnell trial of Virginia – both of which involved what we call these subtle quid pro quos – the jury found them both guilty.
"Juries tend not to like this kind of behavior. There’s something about these fact patterns that to the average person really speak to everything they don’t like about politics. ...
"I think there’s a strong likelihood he will be convicted on some of the charges, maybe not all. That’s a sad day for the city. That’s a sad day for him."Sittenfeld faces two counts each of attempted extortion, bribery and honest services wire fraud. Closing arguments could begin on Tuesday.
That's So Cincinnati: WLWT-TV anchor Sheree Paolello reflects on 20 years in local news
When Sheree Paolello signed a contract to be a reporter at WLWT-TV News 5 she saw Cincinnati as a stepping stone to a bigger market like Chicago or New York.
But that contract became two contracts. Then an offer to anchor came along.
So she stayed.
This month marks her 20th anniversary at WLWT. Paolello told The Enquirer's "That's So Cincinnati" podcast there's no other place she'd rather report the news.
Paolello grew up in St. Leon, in Dearborn County. She graduated from Northern Kentucky University and went on to be a crime reporter in South Bend, Indiana, Dayton and Charlotte before coming to Cincinnati.
A mother of three, Paolello found the love of her life, Mike Dardis, in the anchor chair right next to where she sits. They celebrated their third wedding anniversary a few weeks ago.
Looking back, Paolello said the big stories that resonate with viewers are, of course, the stories she remembers too. She reported live from Fountain Square in 2018 when a gunman killed three and wounded two others in the lobby of Fifth Third's headquarters.
She covered the 2006 saga of Marcus Fiesel, a 3-year-old child who was falsely reported missing, but whose foster parents killed him.
Paolello knows her job can look glamorous, but the truth, she says, is that it usually isn't.
"When you're a young reporter," Paolello said, "I don't think you realize the gravity of the job. ... And then you meet people on the worst day of their life. And what I always say to rookie reporters and to journalism school interns, I'll say to them, 'The day you lose your compassion is the day you need to get out of this business because it a day story for us is most of the time a life-changing moment for other people."
To deal with the toughest stories she relied on Dardis' strength as her partner and the advice a priest gave her many years ago.
He told her to be compassionate and do her job the best she can, in the most compassionate way possible.
Then Dardis suggested that every night, on the way home, Paolello say a prayer for the people she's reported on.
"And that is kind of how I've gotten through it," Paolello said. "I have been doing this job for over 25 years, 20 here in Cincinnati. And that's what I do. I say a prayer for the parents whose kids were killed in a car crash or the father who lost their wife to cold blood or whatever it is.
"I try to just make it be part of my routine."
That's So Cincinnati: Western & Southern's John Barrett on retractable roof arena, tennis tourney future, growing jobs
Western & Southern Financial Group top executive John Barrett joins "That's So Cincinnati" and discusses his big, bold idea to potentially build a new Downtown arena.
Often quite informative, especially during the election. But the consistent refrain in favor of an FC Cincinnati stadium, costs and consequences be damned, gets old. Please at least try to get all sides on an issue if you cover it this often.
The best episodes are the ones without Jason in them.
Establishment all the way
Keeps you current with local politics and business trends, but at its core a very establishment perspective with disturbing flares of ultraconservative vitriol, such as allowing the city prosecutor free reign to rant in gory detail about a black on white murder from the 90s. This was the kind of recitation that gratuitously forces a victim’s family to relive trauma (far more so than having the case relitigated). Show would do well to balance its right-leaning slant with other perspectives and issues.