TOLEDO -- It started when Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner read a prepared statement in an afternoon news conference. In his rant, the mayor said Wood County was "pirating, raiding, pilfering" jobs from Toledo, and he warned if that continued, the city would fight back. Now News 11 has learned the source of the bad blood is Fed Ex.
The package-shipping company is considering moving its Fed Ex Ground distribution center on Reynolds and Angola in south Toledo. The company says it needs a bigger site, which could be outside of the city limits.
The mayor's spokesman confirmed for us that the city is in talks to keep Fed Ex Ground and its 600 employees inside the city. But a source tells News 11 the mayor found out Thursday that Wood County leaders want to bring it east of the river to Perrysburg Township.
"My message to Wood County is this," said Mayor Finkbeiner in his rant, "Cooperation does not involve you poaching business from Toledo." At the afternoon news conference, Finkbeiner would not say which company, but did say he believes Wood County has been trying to lure an existing Toledo business across county lines. "I know for a fact that Wood County officials have been and are making a strong pitch. We aren't going to tolerate that," said Finkbeiner.
The mayor accused Wood County of previously pirating, raiding, pilfering Toledo companies. He cited O-I, which moved more than a year ago from its downtown Toledo world headquarters to Levis Commons in Perrysburg.
Lane Williamson, chairman of the board for the Wood County Economic Development Commission, told us O-I approached Wood County, not the other way around. He says the commission is in a healthy competition with Lucas County, not raiding businesses. "The [commission] office has three employees," said Williamson, "So as busy as the office is, [it's] because business is good in Wood County. It takes their full time attention to manage the prospects and the projects they are working on."
A Fed Ex Ground spokesman in Pittsburgh told News 11 the company is growing and wants to build a facility larger than the one in south Toledo. The company also wants to add jobs. The spokesman says the Buck Road, Interstate 75 area of Perrysburg Township in Wood County is one of several Toledo-area locations they are considering.
Mayor Finkbeiner says the city will try to woo Wood County businesses away if Wood County doesn't stop poaching. The Wood County board chairman says they will continue to cooperate with neighboring counties.
Count on News 11 to follow this story as it develops.