No, this is not a mugshot, but a campaign photo. If this guy ever chased us down, we’d have only one thing to say to him: “Girl, do something about those roots!”
“If you go at things with respect, people are going to respect you more. And if you’re the one leading, and do that, the rest of the people around you will have the same respect that you give them.”
— Randy Ognio, Teabagger debate, July 5, 2012
“It was truly shocking to me how mean-spirited the [sic] some of the commissioners were to the citizens who would speak… I will treat you like I would like to be treated.”
— Randy Ognio, campaign website
“These people are fruitcakes.”
— Randy Ognio, of the woman he chased with his car, and the woman’s husband
Randy Clyde Ognio is a Fayetteville, Georgia, electrical contractor who’s running in the Republican primary for a spot on the Fayette County Commission. It took ten years, but it’s finally come out: Randy has — or, to be fair, had, as he might have grown up a tad since then — a bit of an anger issue. (Although, if he wasn’t grown up by the time he was 43, when the incident occurred, we don’t hold much hope for any great sea change in temperament.)
As recounted by TheCitizen.com (we don’t know; we weren’t there): In 2002, after a driver cut him off in traffic, Randy-Clyde did what any calm, rational grown-up would do: chased her down in his car for more than four miles to her home, running a stop sign in the process, and driving over her lawn. Allegedly, that is. Randy says he didn’t break any traffic laws on his little adventure. Yet he still pleaded— wait, we’re getting ahead of the story…
Randy — thinking the driver was a teenager, he says — followed her home so he could rat her out to her parents. Swell guy that he is, Randy didn’t want to see this “youngster get in trouble with the law.”
This “youngster” turned out to be a grown woman (hmm, wonder if Randy would have been quite so aggressive if it’d been a man behind the wheel?) with a husband waiting at home — a husband who apparently perceived Ognio’s behavior as threatening enough to warrant grabbing a gun and firing a couple of shots into the ground to scare off his wife’s would-be attacker.
Not that Randy was trying to attack anyone, mind you — he’s very clear about that — despite the assessment of a sheriff’s jailer who just happened to witness the incident, stating that Ognio “was driving very aggressively, at certain points he seemingly tried to run the Mustang off the road.”
Randy says that’s “a friggin’ lie” — and that if he wanted to run the other car off the road, he would’ve. Which makes us feel ever so much better.
Speaking of “youngsters,” Ognio reportedly had his 12-year-old son in the car with him as he chased the woman down. Real responsible, Dad.
Ognio was not charged by the sheriff’s department until after his prey, one Joann Nieves, “visited a Fayette County Magistrate the day after the incident and two warrants were approved for Ognio’s arrest: one for felony aggravated assault and the other for aggressive driving, a misdemeanor,” reports The Citizen.com, which fills in the rest of the story:
“Ognio, 53, pled guilty in November 2005 to aggressive driving, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to a $500 fine, 12 months probation and was required to take an anger management class. Prosecutors dropped a felony charge of aggravated assault, which accused Ognio of driving his vehicle at Joann Nieves, a contention Ognio strongly denies.”
It’s interesting that all this came out only now; as TheCitizen.com’s John Munford notes:
One of Ognio’s frequent complaints to commissioners is about a lack of transparency. But when it comes to this incident, Ognio defended his decision not to address it after qualifying for office.
“I hadn’t been trying to hide it,” Ognio said, noting that he had spoken to some people about the incident because he felt it was going to come out at a candidate’s forum last week. “They didn’t see where it was a big deal, and if it comes up and it’s out there, they can go look it up. It ain’t something I’m trying to hide.”
If he ain’t trying to hide it, why does he accuse his opponent of releasing the information about his arrest and conviction? Isn’t this something a guy so gung-ho on transparency and honesty should have brought up himself?
Ognio, by the way, also says “if he ‘really flew off the handle all the time I’d have something more on my record than this.’” Funny, but most citizens don’t have any record at all.
Meanwhile, Ognio’s supporters are defending their boy by attempting to divert attention away from the issue at hand (what a surprise… not) by bringing up the alleged pot-smoking of incumbent Lee Hearn. That’s not surprising — although we’ve never heard of anybody smoking pot and then being consumed by anger and chasing somebody down in a car.
Also worth reading: “Road Rage Randy wrong for Fayette County,” LTTE, Eric K. Maxwell, Fayetteville, TheCitizen.com, July 5, 2012
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