Canton Repository

June 17, 2004

Lawmakers’ financial reports include Ney’s jackpot win in London

Copley Washington correspondent

WASHINGTON — Rep. Bob Ney hit the jackpot in a London casino last year.

The Republican congressman’s hot hand netted him $34,000, according to a financial disclosure statement made public Wednesday.

Ney of St. Clairsville won that sum during a one-night stopover in the English capital, his spokesman, Brian Walsh, said.

The revelation was among the most unusual contained in financial reports that lawmakers are required to file each year.

Ney, who chairs the House Administration Committee, won the money after dropping into a casino called the Ambassadors Club. Betting $100 in a “game of chance” that is similar to draw poker, he raked in about $600, Walsh said. In a long-shot bid, the congressman then wagered his entire winnings on another hand and came away with $34,000.

Walsh credited the win to luck.

Ney, who is married and supports two children, may have used the winnings to pay off credit-card debt that he listed in an earlier report.

Last year, Ney reported owing between $15,000 and $50,000 each on a credit card and charge card. He did not list any debt in this year’s filing. Lawmakers are required to report debts higher than $10,000, except for mortgages and secured debt, which need not be revealed.

Rep. Ralph Regula’s report showed that the value of Unizan Bank stock he owns jointly with his wife, Mary, increased. The stock was valued between $500,000 and $1 million last year, up from a range of $250,000 to $500,000 in 2002.

Regula, R-Bethlehem Township, reported assets in the range of $815,000 to $1.75 million, including the 200-acre cattle farm where he and his wife live. The assets include investments and property that he and his wife own jointly, assets in his wife’s name and a dairy products hauling partnership owned by him and his brother.

Regula chairs a key House Appropriations subcommittee.

The only investment Ney reported was a savings account worth between $1 and $1,000. He owns a house in Ohio.

Two Ohio congressmen used a portion of their savings to buy homes.

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, cashed in his state retirement plan to purchase a house in Niles after his marriage last year. The freshman congressman had the pension plan from his previous job as an Ohio state senator. The plan was valued at between $5,000 and $15,000.

Rep. Ted Strickland, D-Lisbon, took money out of a savings account to buy a condominium in Columbus, where his wife, Frances, lives.

Ryan’s wife, Julie, earned a salary from his campaign during the first two months or so of 2003, before she left the campaign payroll and took a job at an Akron food bank, a Ryan spokeswoman said.

Ney’s wife also received an unspecified salary for working on her husband’s campaign.

The reports do not list the amounts of salaries earned by spouses.

Lawmakers are required to report their income-producing assets within broad ranges, not exact amounts. They need not list their personal residences.

U.S. representatives earn $158,100 and are reimbursed for trips between their districts and the Capitol. They pay out of their own pockets for housing in Washington, D.C.