U H-OH. Looks like City Councilman David Oh, a Republican vying to keep his at-large seat, is in trouble with Philly's police and firefighters unions.
Union leaders yesterday called on Oh to remove their names and logos from his campaign website, saying they had not endorsed him for the Nov. 3 election.
John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, and Andrew Thomas, president of the Fire Fighters' & Paramedics Union Local 22, blasted Oh in a joint statement:
"It has been brought to our attention that incumbent City Councilman David Oh continues to claim through his campaign website and literature that he is endorsed by Philadelphia's police and firefighter unions. He most assuredly has NOT received our respective endorsements for the November 3rd General Election, nor will he be receiving our endorsements. It is utterly shameful and disingenuous of Councilman Oh to be falsely claiming our endorsements for his own political gain. Today we call upon Councilman Oh to immediately cease and desist using our respective union logos and names on his campaign website and in all campaign literature."
As of 10 last night, Oh had not removed the union names and logos from the list of endorsements on his site, DavidOh.com.
The FOP and Local 22 had endorsed Oh in the May 19 primary election, but union leadership decided not to endorse him in the general, according to Thomas.
Thomas said that Oh had failed to adequately represent Local 22 members while on Council in the wake of his primary win, but Thomas declined to elaborate. "I think the statement is pretty clear," Thomas said.
Oh said that he hadn't heard from leaders of either union, although he said he reached out to ask if he indeed had lost their support.
"It's a surprise to me to learn today that there is some dispute about my endorsement," Oh said. "I've been endorsed by both organizations. I believe I have been a very solid voice for the firefighters and the police officers and I will continue to do so."
Oh said that as far as he was concerned, the primary endorsements still stand until he hears otherwise.
"I'm endorsed in the primary - it doesn't come with a time limit," Oh said. "I have no problems taking down the endorsements if they have a new set of endorsements coming out. I'm not looking for controversy."
Oh pointed out that the joint statement was issued by email through Frank Keel, who serves as the campaign communications director for one of Oh's rivals, Al Taubenberger.
Taubenberger, who lost to Oh by just 203 votes in 2011, is one of five candidates vying for two at-large Council seats reserved for minority parties.
Reached yesterday, Keel said he was acting in his capacity as spokesman for Local 22, which has been his client for about five years. Keel said he put out the statement at the direction of both Thomas and McNesby, who reviewed and approved the language.
Oh, 55, a lawyer from Southwest Philly, may not be looking for controversy, but it seems to follow him.
In 2011, Oh landed in hot water for embellishing his military record claiming that he had been an officer in an Army Special Forces unit and a former Green Beret. Oh apologized for "any confusion or misimpression."
Last month, the city Ethics Board fined Oh $2,000 for violating campaign-finance law.