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Hudson mayor resigns after ice fishing prostitution concerns go viral

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Posted at 11:34 AM, Feb 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-14 22:35:09-05

HUDSON, Ohio — Less than one week after he suggested that ice fishing on the Hudson Springs Park Lake may lead to prostitution, Hudson Mayor Craig Shubert announced his resignation on his campaign website Monday.

Shubert said his comments during Tuesday’s city council workshop were “made out of concern for our community,” and the concern that opening ice fishing on the lake could lead to people building ice shanties that could result in prostitution was based on his prior television news reporting experience.

“My attempt to inject a bit of dry humor to make a point about this, in the midst of a cold, snowy February, was grossly misunderstood,” Shubert stated. “Some in our community saw this as an opportunity to engage in the politics of personal destruction by means of character assassination, blaming me for the negative international press they helped to promote.”

In his resignation letter, Shubert acknowledged that “city hall is entering a new era,” given the turnover of six of the seven seats on the council, and his “role as a change agent is complete.

“City Council appreciates the time and dedication that Mayor Shubert has put in to serving the citizens of Hudson,” said Hudson Council President Chris Foster in a statement from the city Monday. “We respect his decision and wish him the best in the future.”

The council will seek to appoint a replacement mayor that will serve until the November General Election when the mayor's position will be on the ballot.

Tuesday’s meeting

The city had been discussing lifting the ban on ice fishing at Hudson Springs Park when Shubert raised the point that the city’s fire department should be trained and have the capability to conduct ice rescues and that the fire chief should weigh in before any final decision is made.

After making that point, things took an interesting turn, with Shubert then voicing his concerns that ice fishing would lead to ice shanties which, for whatever reason, would lead to prostitution.

“Additionally, if you open this up to ice fishing, while on the surface it sounds good, then what happens next year?” Shubert said. “Does someone come back and say, ‘I want an ice shanty on Hudson Springs Park for X amount of time? And if you then allow ice fishing with shanties, then that leads to another problem. Prostitution. Now you’ve got the police chief, police department involved."

A video of the city council meetings made the rounds on social media, garnering national attention and seeing Shubert roasted to no end.

RELATED: Hudson mayor roasted for suggesting ice fishing could lure prostitutes to lake

After Shubert's comment went viral, the City of Hudson clarified that it had not had any issues regarding prostitution in the city.

On Friday, the city shared that ice fishing would be open at Hudson Springs Park, and signs were posted that warn fishers to do so at their own risk and requiring minors to be accompanied by an adult when ice fishing.

RELATED: Off the hook: Hudson opens up ice fishing despite mayor's concerns it would lead to prostitution

Previous national controversy

Last Tuesday was not the first time one of Shubert’s comments generated national attention.

During a Hudson School Board meeting last September, Shubert offered his take on a writing prompt book being used at a college-level writing course at a Hudson high school that contained some prompts of a sexual nature.

“It has come to my attention that your educators are distributing essentially what is child pornography in the classroom," Shubert told the board during the meeting. "I’ve spoken to a judge this evening. She’s already confirmed that. So I’m going to give you a simple choice—you either choose to resign from the Board of Education or you will be charged."

An investigation by the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office found the comments made by Shubert went viral locally and nationally. Members of the Board of Education and school administrators received over 150 threatening and profane phone calls and emails.

The county prosecutor announced that the mayor would not be charged for his comments, saying that while there was a “significant lapse of judgment” by Shubert, there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove violations of the laws took place.

RELATED: Prosecutor won't charge Hudson mayor for comments that led to threats against school board members

Read the full resignation letter post on Shubert's website below:

When I entered the race for mayor in 2019, my objective was to bring about change. To shake-up city council and our city administration, to return Hudson to its core conservative values, and to focus on the needs of our community; not the wants of a few. Residents repeatedly said city leadership had been focusing on amenities and luxuries while our streets and infrastructure crumbled. Concerns over the Phase II development project and questionable spending of $30 million in prior years were equally shared by the voters who elected me.

City Council workshops are a time for discussing important matters, the sharing of ideas and concerns, as well as one’s knowledge and experience prior to crafting legislation to establish new laws and policies. My comments at Tuesday’s workshop were made out of concern for our community; what could become of unintended consequences of new legislation, based on my prior television news reporting experience. My attempt to inject a bit of dry humor to make a point about this, in the midst of a cold, snowy February, was grossly misunderstood.

Some in our community saw this as an opportunity to engage in the politics of personal destruction by means of character assassination, blaming me for the negative international press they helped to promote.

Since the passing of my wife, First Lady Sherri Moyer, I have given considerable thought to the next stage of my life. Retirement is on the near horizon. With the recent changes on city council, where six of seven seats have turned over, City Hall is entering a new era. My role as a change agent is complete. Hudson has a stronger financial and economic base than ever before, and major road improvements are being completed. I have, therefore, decided to step down as mayor to allow for new leadership, a clean slate, and a path forward.

I wish to thank the residents of Hudson who have stood alongside Sherri and me the past three years. It has been an honor and a pleasure to have been your mayor. Please know your love and support continues to be truly appreciated.
Hudson Mayor Craig Shubert