CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld says he “wishes nothing but peace" for the Smitherman family.
FOX19 NOW caught up with Sittenfeld Tuesday to get his reaction to Pamela Smitherman’s recording chastising him over the recently-released “Gang of Five” text messages.
“I certainly share prior thoughts wishing nothing but peace for the family and other than that focusing on doing my job and I’ll let his actions at this time kind of speak for themselves,” Sittenfeld said, "but I wish peace for the family and obviously I’m trying to do the work of the city such as things like announcing $150 million in investments.”
He briefly spoke with FOX19 NOW after a news conference announcing $150 million investment in economic development for the Uptown Gateway. The news conference was held on the corner of Reading Road and Martin Luther King Drive in Avondale.
We asked Sittenfeld if he planned to personally apologize to the vice mayor, but he did not respond and walked off with his chief of staff.
In a text exchange, Sittenfeld and Councilman Chris Seelbach accused her husband, Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman, of using her illness for political gain.
“I have no idea why I am being talked about. I question the moral integrity of anyone who wants to take cancer and make a mockery of it,” she said in the recording, made in October. "Mr. Sittenfeld, you are just young and immature and I think your parents are probably ashamed of you and your behavior. Shame on you Mr. Sittenfeld for talking about me.
Pamela Smitherman, 48, died from breast cancer at home on Jan. 15 and recorded the message last fall, before she became too weak to speak.
Councilman Jeff Pastor, who also attended the news conference, said City Council can move on and work together now for the good of the city despite the disparaging content of several of the texts.
“We’re going to have to, right? We’re going to have to,” Pastor said. “I would hope that, moving forward, that collaboration and the spirit of civility would rule our decisions, our relationships. But again, once the rest of these messages come out March 27, I’ll have more to say.”
Pastor is among those belittled in the thousands of council texts released last week.
“Also, will you apologize to Jeff Pastor?” Seelbach texted Sittenfeld. “He is very upset you did not give him notice on your press conference? Please also issue a statement praising him for supporting FCC in the West End. And a box of tissues for his weekly crying.”
A short while later, Seelbach texted Sittenfeld: “At a dinner party. Need to talk?"
Sittenfeld texted back: “Not at all, was just calling to playfully gripe for a minute abut how Pastor is a psychotic salty whiny nut....enjoy the party."
A few days later, Seelbach texted: “Pastor just issued some kind of schizophrenic ‘please don’t leave me out again’ statement alluding to the actual vote tomorrow.”
Sittenfeld responded: “He came into my office to whine for 45 minutes. I basically told him I’m sick of his crap.”
Pastor said he will not comment on the content of those text messages until the rest of council’s private messages are released later this month.
Under the settlement of the lawsuit filed by an anti-tax activist seeking the messages, the city has until March 27 to to release the “Gang of Five’s” emails.
Pastor said he watched Pamela Smitherman’s recording when it exclusively aired on FOX19 NOW Monday night.
“That was tough last night, extremely tough,” he said. “Extremely tough. My wife and I cried. Especially my wife. I cried because my wife cried, but my wife and I cried. It’s tough."
Mayor John Cranley also attended Tuesday’s new conference but left after introducing Sittenfeld at the podium.
We reached out to Seelbach for comment Tuesday and will update this story if we hear back.