Who is Ron Gerard?


After Mayor-elect Jim Suttle stormed out of his “press conference” the other day — the one where the press didn’t get to ask any questions — he left his new Communications Director to sort out the queries of those assembled.

We joked in a recent post that Communications Director-designate Ron Gerard must be longing for the days when he was a simple TV weatherman on KPTM.

How little did we know!

Upon a tip from a reader, we looked at what “Mr. Gerard” has been up to the past eight or so years. However, we couldn’t find much because there’s little on the web about “Ron Gerard”, other than his time as a meteorologist at KPTM, and before that KETV.

But look under Ronald G. Penzkowski, and you find much more!

(OK, this is going to be less exciting than we’re building it up to be, but….)

It appears that “Ron Gerard” is simply the stage name for Mr. Ron G. Penzkowski. Around 2001, “Gerard” (which we will assume is his middle name), entered the business world, and has since been working as Owner, CEO and CFO of Pavilion Capital Group, “a wholesale mortgage banker and private equity group facilitator.”

Apparently once Penzkowski, nee Gerard, entered the mortgage banking world, he didn’t want people to remember his weather-dude moniker, so he ditched the TV name and went back to his Polish roots.

Penzkowski has, along with his American Meteorological Society Television Seal, a degree in communications from the University of Winconsin-Madison (or so says Penzkowski on his LinkedIn page).

So after leveraging his mortgage banking skills as Suttle’s campaign Field Operations Director, Suttle gave him the gig as Communications Director.

And then somehow Ronald G. Penzkowski once again became…Ron Gerard.

Why? We don’t know.

Because people would wonder why weatherman Ron “Weird Science” Gerard now sounded like he was writing about alpine bovine?

Because Gerard is shorter to write on the press releases?

Because he wants to further confuse his former mortgage banking clients?

We dunno.

Just chalk this one up to “Another day in the Suttle administration.”

(If that is the Mayor-elect’s REAL name….)

***

We were really hoping to leave the Samp story behind by now.

Suttle, frankly, did the right thing by admitting that he screwed up by not taking questions then doing some interviews on the subject. OK, great.

But can someone, based on any of the following news stories from the past three days, tell us Suttle’s reason for rescinding the Chief of Staff offer to Matt Samp?

Suttle says caller wouldn’t give details of Samp allegations
Suttle’s screening efforts faulted
Suttle Does About Face After News Conference ‘Mistake
Mayor-Elect Criticized For Snippy News Conference

Finally, plowing through them, here’s the best we got — from WOWT — but what’s the answer here?

So we asked if it’s gossip, why fire Samp?

“It doesn’t make any difference whether it’s perception or reality — treat them the same,” says Suttle. “It’s time to part company and I did.”

So we are to understand that as long as someone makes an allegation against a member of the Suttle administration, that’s good enough for firing???

Samp told Suttle he didn’t do anything wrong. So what’s the reason?

And frankly, if the reason is “there’s a rumor out there”, that is as flimsy as it gets.

We’d like some closure here from the Mayor-elect, but this just ain’t it.

98 comments

  1. Street Sweeper says:

    4:38,

    You don't seem to understand.

    THIS is the sort of thing the AG should be investigating. And if he "can't handle the truth" then maybe the Iowa or Missoura AG needs to get involved. (Or at least just that small part of Missoura that touches Nebraska.)

    You people. Sometimes…

  2. Anonymous says:

    What? There are usually only two reasons why someone changes their names. One is when they get married, and two is if they're trying to hide something.

  3. Eric says:

    Or three, they have a difficult to pronounce name and they're a local TV personality.

    He was hired because of his media background. It would be silly of him not to use the name by which he is known in those circles. If I were Suttle, I would have hired Otis Twelve.

  4. macdaddy says:

    You may also know Mr. Gerard as small town deputy Barnie Fife or hard-nosed super with a heart of gold, Mr. Furley.

  5. From the Bleachers says:

    It has been said that you only get one chance to make a first impression. If this adage is true then mayor-elect Suttle is off to a horrible start. No mulligans for you!

    On a more serious note…Suttle's stumbles will make it hard to recruit and hire qualified individuals for important director positions and other key mayoral staffers. Add in the reputation of being a micro-managing engineer and it results in a dis-incentive for competent hires.

  6. Geosuser says:

    Wow…Suttle strikes gold again! A "liar loan" making subprime mortgage broker using a stage name as his communications director along with his cheating on his NRD expense account and wife remaining co-chief of staff. Mayor Moron is setting a new standard in surrounding himself with people of the highest moral and ethical standards. Guess he feels most comfortable hanging with that type of people.

  7. Anonymous says:

    They say you are who you surround yourself with.

    On another note, has Suttle said if he's going to hire someone else as his "Community Chief of Staff"? Anyone send him their resume?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Geosuser – don't be spreading unfounded rumors about cheating on expenses to diminish the qualities of Oltmans. His government experience is going to help Suttle immensely. Even the OWH wouldn't do that. And as far as changing names, big deal. Who remembers Leslie King?

  9. TopBanana says:

    You know, I'm no fan of Suttle's but you can't hang him on the fiing of Samp thing. I mean, everyone is ready to form a lynch mob to go after Samp, and now you say Suttle has no backbone for firing Samp after only allegations? Go back and read the previous posts; the fact that they were only allegations didn't make any difference to most of us. If he didn't fire Samp, we would have ben all over him for that just as much.

    Like I said, I'm no fan, but let's keep it fair. You can't get him for doing what we wanted all along! Now, go back to questioning him about those fire and police pensions – that's the real issue we should be focusing on here!

    Also 10:05 AM, great comment about the Leslie King thing!

  10. Street Sweeper says:

    TB,
    We're simply judging Suttle on what HE SAID.

    SUTTLE SAID if a rumor is believed enough, you're out. Is that the standard Omahans want set?

    We can do nothing more than follow what he said.

    Leslie was a great center for Michigan football, but his adoptive father changed his name for him as a baby. You'll note that he didn't change it back to "King" after he got out of football.

  11. Gop voter says:

    Folks go easy on Ron Gerard. Don't mess with his business reputation if he hasn't done anything wrong. Now if you want to make weather jokes or critique his performance as press person that is fair game. There has been a lot of trash on here lately. I know plenty of hacks that were drooling for jobs if any of the 3 candidates won. Clearly, Ron did not know what he is getting.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Wow…the Harold Daub (since you are a stickler for real names) faction still can't get over the fact that their beloved Harry lost.

  13. Anonymous says:

    i am begining to wonder if this blog is owned by the omaha world herald.

    some of its columnists are obsessed with trashing suttle, as is this blog.

  14. Street Sweeper says:

    12:49,
    Yup, L. St. is obsessed.
    And the OWH is obsessed.
    And KMTV is obsessed.
    And KETV is obsessed.
    And WOWT is obsessed.
    And KPTM is obsessed.
    And KFAB is obsessed.
    And all the other news outlets and blogs and people at the water cooler are all "obsessed".

    You're like Detective Frank Drebin standing in front of the exploding fireworks factory: "Nothing to see here folks. Move along. Nothing to see."

  15. Anonymous says:

    I think what the point that 12:49 was trying to make was that overkill is overkill and it makes no difference how many or few are involved. In football it's called piling on, in media? Fair game.

  16. Something's Fishy says:

    I have a question. If Jon Bruning is to be believed, he conveyed the allegations to two "Democratic officials."

    As a loyal (and ambitious) Republican, wouldn't one assume he also conveyed the information to and "Republican officials?

    If he did not, thus depriving the Daub campaign or NEGOP of the opportunity to use the allegations against Suttle in the campaign, has the NEGOP power structure turned a blind eye to the fact that Bruning's not sharing the allegations may have cost them the mayor's race? Will there be a price to pay?

    Something is not adding up here.

  17. Street Sweeper says:

    1:26
    We made the point that we figured the story would die.

    But as long as SUTTLE keeps bringing it up and makes new arguments, then it's not dead.

    It's not piling on if the guy with the ball is still running around.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Did you think Something's fishey that Daub knew and took the high road and made it an issue oriented campaign.

    Or Jon Bruning is on a streak of electing Democrats, Don Kliene and Jim Suttle..lol..just kidding Jon

  19. Anonymous says:

    Hey, R.G. it was great to see how well you took control over the news confrence. My friends and I hope to see you all again in Omaha, Ne during the CWS. "We are confident Texas will win it all this year in baseball." I hope to have with me from Texas, My best friend is Reginald V. Snow former navy seal now with Chioce Energy Services Inc. of Houston, Tx. Also, we hope to have with me, my firend, LTC. John C. Nelson of the U.S. Army now serving in Iraq. Along with other of my friends who were with me on election day, 12May09. My troops came to Omaha to work the telephones. I was the one all beat up with black eyes and cuts on my face from a Mountain Bike Accident. We are all proud to had the priveldge of serving and working on the Jim Suttle for mayor of Omaha, Ne. Once again, congradualations on a job well done. On behalf of my friends around the world. Please, keep on making us proud. Sincerely: Bryan Kent Henricksen…emial at henricksen.bryan@yahoo.com

  20. Anonymous says:

    I don't particularly agree with AG Bruning's political positions in most cases, but I have to say that I was highly impressed with the way in which AG Bruning handled the Samp situation.

    He could have exploited it for political gain by leaking it or someone on his staff leaking it.

    Instead, he did his legal duty and informed the appropriate parties regarding the allegations.

    At the same time, it makes me seriously question the judgement of the two Democratic officials who allowed Mr. Samp to continue as an advisor to a Mayoral campaign having knowledge of these accusations.

    I can't believe they did not inform Suttle at all!

    Who were these officials?

    The two officials mentioned obviously should not have jobs in government, let alone politics.

    What incompetence!

    *SS, there is a big error in the third to last line of your post that should be corrected.

  21. Street Sweeper says:

    *
    And frankly, if the reason is "there's a rumor out there", that is as flimsy as

    What am I missing?

  22. Anonymous says:

    "May the Holy Ghost be with you" the new Bishop of Omaha is George Lucas. Sweeper you are being handed a gift.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Oh boy. Has anyone read the 1998 OWH story about Brad Fuglei which quotes Matt Samp being worried someone might "hurt" Brad? It's heartbreaking. I'd link to the story, but SS doesn't allow it. Google it.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, this is pretty weak.

    You're going to really criticize him for using the name most media folks know him by when his last name is difficult to pronounce?

    Now you're just being deliberately obtuse.

  25. Anonymous says:

    The Samp train wreck is intersting stuff for sure, but there is much more interesting stuff going on.

    Suttle's inability to fill his staff with qualified individuals. Word is he is just running down the phone book calling bankers to be finance director.

    Also heard he thinks he can bully the new city council into electing his choice for puppet…er, council president.

    He has a two week plan? I'd call it a two week pray, followed but a crippling defeat.

  26. Anonymous says:

    has the Democratic Party taken any steps to protect students and other young people working on the campaign and on party activites from suspected sex offenders? Is Mr. Samp still "advising" students?
    Is anyone watching out for the young folks on the campaign trail?

  27. December Recall Rally says:

    I think we should have a little gathering in mid December to announce the Recall Jim Suttle drive. This should be nice timing to complete the petition process, and have the recall on the 2010 Promary ballot. Frome there, we could go to an election in the fall.

    If this is all in accordance with the recall laws, it would not cost tax payers any mpre money for a special election.

    Six months will be more than enough time for people to realize the mistake that has been made. Heck, two weeks should be long enough.

  28. Insider says:

    I like your plan December Recall Rally. By then, enough people will know enough about the mayor to know what I've known all along. By the way, there is still much more buried just below the surface, and ironically enough it parallels the whole Samp thing. Keep digging 😉 it's there.

  29. Insider says:

    The way Suttle had Gerard's back at the press confernece, Gerard might have felt like Ron Jeremy was behind him.

  30. Concerned teacher says:

    Insider I like you, you may have many things to teach us on this matter. The real scandal however is how two brothers negotiated contracts to win elections and hurt the city in the process.

  31. Anonymous says:

    What do the following have in common:

    – Teacher's having inappropriate relationships with minor students

    – Wealthy/influential parents influencing the institution to keep allegations internal

    – The offense swept under the rug and the teacher in question being released from her contract, only to be hired by OPS

    – Administrators from the institution in question being promoted

    Look at the Samp and Oltmans appointments. It is clear Suttle has no clue who he is involved with.

    Criminal investigations to come!

  32. Anonymous says:

    Insider, unless you share those facts, I think we have to assume you're full of it. If you had 'evidence' you wouldn't be casting vague innuendo about it on a blog.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Suttle can find no one to be the finance director. No one wants to work for him. Other people are leaving soon.

  34. Anonymous says:

    I think the people at Cooper Farm for boys need to come forward. They know what was swept under the rug.

  35. Anonymous says:

    You people want to recall a mayor who hasn't even taken the oath? Settle down, relax. Remember the last time it happened? Boyle is still in office running unopposed and hasn't learned anything. OR is it the voters who haven't learned a thing??

  36. Anonymous says:

    Great that is all we need a mayor politically mortally wounded when our economy is in the tank. Thanks Jim!!!

  37. Anonymous says:

    This whole Samp affair may have raise a very important question-

    Is anyone (Attorney General) overseeing the safety of young people, students volunteering or working on political campaigns or party activities?

    Shouldn't every campaign staff from now on be required to take training on what's appropiate contact with youth?

    I think if the County Attorney or Attorney General would take some leadership this could save some young people from being exposed to inappropiate behavior.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Anon 2:59

    both recallsuttle.com and recalljimsuttle.com are probably owned by Jim Suttle or those in his campaign. They think about this stuff years before the possibility even presents itself. So if he is recalled, at least he can make a buck on the domain name!

  39. Street Sweeper says:

    If it helps, "recallMAYORsuttle.com" is available.

    And FWIW, Jim Cleary and Co. managed to recall Mike Boyle without the use of a website (or email) at all…

  40. Anonymous says:

    Jim Cleary was a consultant to Hal Daub. Together they conspired with the Omaha Police Union to succussfully derail Jim Vokal's mayoral run in the primary by creating and distributing the bogus anti-Vokal mailers and television commercials because they knew Daub could not beat Vokal in a general election.

    Now we are going to have "Joe Biden" in the Mayor's Office. Thanks Hal Daub & Jim Cleary for screwing the citizens of Omaha!

  41. Anonymous says:

    All the dumbasses that voted for Jim Suttle for absolutely no reason except he wasn't Hal, now want to blame Hal for their stupidity?!

    That's choice! I suppose it is Hal's fault that I put my money in tech stocks in 1999 too!

  42. intheknow says:

    Barb Velinsky will become the Community Project Director for Mayor Jim Suttle on June 9, 2009. Her duties will include the Mayor’s Hotline, After School Programs, and Sun Dawgs along with other community projects.

  43. Anonymous says:

    And if only the GOP had run Vokal instead of McCain, Obama would have lost and Republicans would have the White House today.

  44. Anonymous says:

    The city is going to pay Barb Velinski to do this stuff? Talk about a waste of money.

    More Suttle incompetence.What a train wreck.

  45. curbfeeler says:

    Sweeper, that June 2nd grumpy looking photo of Suttle is a dead ringer for Jeff Durham's "Walter" puppet. Check it out.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Settle down Leavenworth nation. You'll survive.
    Jim Suttle as Mayor won't be the end of the world.

    things will be fine.

    quit your petty whining and grow up.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Republicans have a bright future locally;

    Suttle will be an easy target for Vokal, Welch

    Ricketts rematch vs Nelson

    County races Republicans could have strong chance of winning; Register of Deeds, Treasurers, Tusa Commissioner, Rogers Commissioner.

    As crazy as this sounds, Republicans should court Frank Brown to run against Chris "Do Nothing" Rogers.

    Brown is still angry at the Democraic party. Brown said he's more of an Indpendent, Ernie would endorse him, Brown had a good relationship with Jim Vokal, GOP can highlight Michael Steele. Get Brown to run as an Independent, he's still popular in the district.

    any GOP effort in north Omaha would be an improvement. Hello, is Glenn Freeman and George Davis still running the GOP north Omaha "outreach"?

  48. Anonymous says:

    Nice try but in case you haven't noticed Omaha is turning more and more blue and Nebraska as a whole is becoming more Democratic. Thank you President Obama, your influence is felt here in Omaha!!!

    The GOP future locally isn't very bright but the Democrat's future is very very bright (gotta wear shades)

  49. Anonymous says:

    What did suttle say? If he doesn't keep on tract Omaha is headed for bankruptcy?

    Oh yey, with him as our mayor – Omaha is definity headed for bankruptcy alright ! WOW, we're in trouble and he isn't even in office yet = he's only mayor-elect.

  50. Anonymous says:

    And, ya know, if we would have got the right person elected (Hal Daub) that is !!! We would NOT be hearing ALL this BAD NEWS stuff that Suttle has going on. And this is just the beginning to a whole lot more that's going to come out. You watch !!!

    Oh, and, what did he say about history? He wants HIS miss-up (this scandal) to be history? I guess, what he's saying is that he wants to 'sweep it under the rug'. AGAIN !!! As his usual self!!! Same old Jim Suttle (Futtle)!!!

    Well, I believe he will go down in history as the WORSE mayor ever elected to Omaha. You watch !!!
    Mark my words. This is just the beginning of the end.

    This isn't just us people blogging but he's out there in the media being an idiot. AGAIN !!!

  51. Anonymous says:

    To 12:49, June 3rd

    WRONG! Suttle is trashing himself.

    And, he's NOT going to stop! For a man who has an engineering degree and claims to be SO SMART, he sure doesn't appear to be very intelligent, NOR wise.

    And, he deserves for us to trash him, as well. He is a GOOFBALL.

  52. Al says:

    Interesting. What really concerns me is that Suttle's top staff includes a person who filed false expenses and the other shortcoming.

  53. Anonymous says:

    Al at 7:55
    His top aid did NOT file false expense reports. Spreading that garbage does nothing to help get Omaha out of its situation.

  54. Anonymous says:

    Omaha's "situation" is that its new mayor is a rotten judge of character and just this side of a drooling idiot.

  55. Anonymous says:

    There's always so much love, understanding, reflection, forgiveness, compassion and a general uplifting of the mind on the Leavenworth Street blog.

    This is such an amazing, wonderful, terrrific blog.

    I enjoy spending my precious time reading such insightful comments.

  56. Anonymous says:

    Vokal has been making the rounds these last two weeks non-stop with all the big boys. You dont think he's preparing for the "best" and lining his coffers? THe Chamber and the Big Boys (and girls) have not like this week's course of events. Also not bad for Vokal to be sitting next to Sokol and Gail Werner Robertson now on the MECA board and watch Jimmy S puke down his leg.

    With these blunders, the public is watching Suttle like a hawk. Next thing down the pike is a tax increase he will present to the Council in the 2010 budget. Guaranteed. With the summer coming, murders will escalate (remember Jimmy S. said he will get murders down to zero), and then the big rubber stamp pension roll out with more taxes, taxes, taxes.

    Get the recall papers ready and if that doesn't happen, Suttle is red meat.

  57. Suttle Watcher says:

    Dictating to the Council already Jim? Telling people who should be the new council president and VP. Bringing civility to city hall, right!!! I have a feeling the next six months the public will get tho know the real Jim Suttle.

  58. Anonymous says:

    But remember, Suttle is also going to bring the drop out rate in Omaha down to zero too. That's really good news, right? By this time next year the whole city's IQ is going to rise — all thanks to Jim the Subtle!

  59. Anonymous says:

    A TV personality changing his name is as common as an ignorant redneck in Omaha, and by that I mean it's real common.

  60. NE Voter says:

    What a bunch of sore losers. Cripes, people, save the whining until Suttle actually becomes Mayor.

    This blog and the comments used to be pretty entertaining and occasionaly insightful. Lately, not so much. I think too many of the Dodge Street posters have infiltrated.

    Anyway, I don't expect to agree with the right-wing posters, but try to keep it smart — and civil. As for a small minority of you, if you can't stop drinking after 8:00 p.m., at least stop posting comments. I mean, please, you're making yourselves look and sound silly.

    As for the City of Omaha, Suttle and the new council have their work cut out for them. This would be true even if your guy had won.

    Finally, if you're displeased with the Pension Study Group's recommendations, please detail your specific plans to address and correct the shortfall.

    Out.

  61. Anonymous says:

    So Jensen may be leaving as Omaha Planner. Will Suttle fill that position? We all know the answer to that one. Attention Maggie O'Brien: there are several other top city heads that are leaving…call around!!!

  62. I says:

    NE Voter:

    What in the hell is a Cripe? No offense but there is something really wrong with your thinking. For one thing, you accuse people of drinking after 8 PM. What would be wrong with that? Do you do your drinking before 10:00 AM??? And, that is really beside the point anyway! The issue at hand is that we have a mayor-elect that is a MORON. And is – in WAY OVER his head! And, WHO got him in to this situation (besides himself)??? Whereas, he is now about to LOOSE FACE and become the LAUGHING STOCK of the whole Omaha Community….

  63. Anonymous says:

    What is he a martyr? Petifiles are okay, and, so are illegal immigrants.

    What's Next Jim – Senor/Petifile Condoner Suttle???

  64. smarter than you says:

    I said 12:55am.
    Your an idiot, the sad fact is that you dont know you are.

    From thefreedictionary.com
    cripes (krps)
    interj.
    Used to express annoyance, anger, or dismay.

    From merriam-webster.com
    —used as a mild oath

    From dictionary.com
    cripes  /kraɪps/ Pronunciation [krahyps]
    –interjection (used as a mild oath or an exclamation of astonishment.)

  65. Cathy says:

    Yeah; let's just wait for Suttle to become mayor… that's like waiting for a hurricace to hit…

    And NE Voter, if, and it sounds like you did, vote for Futtle, you are about to get what you deserve…

    Don't gripe later !

  66. Anonymous says:

    The first action of the city council will be another epic Suttle failure.

    Suttles DEMAND for an all democrat, hand picked council leadership by a 7 – 0 vote will not go down.

    How arrogant to demand a unanimous vote! This might not be a civil city government and ONLY because f the arrogant, whacky mayor at the head.

  67. 3rd floor watcher says:

    Where is the news story on Suttle's dictatorial style of leadership??? If I was a reporter I would ask if Jim Suttle made demands about who should be Pres and VP of the council. Isn't there a concept of separation of powers?

  68. Anonymous says:

    QUIT HITTING THE CAPS KEY! WE REALIZE YOU FEEL STRONGLY ABOUT SUTTLE! YOU DON'T HAVE TO EMPHASIZE IT! CRIPES!

  69. Amanda says:

    This is really pointless … Ron is my uncle and I can tell you that he took on his TV name Ron Gerard along time ago because the station thought people would have a hard time pronouncing 'Penzkowski.' And Trust me, my uncle is proud of his Polish roots – so much so that he was able to find our long-lost family in Brazil. He has nothing to hide, when he left his position as a weatherman at Fox – he didn't have to use Ron Gerard stage name anymore. He has always been Ron Penzkowski and will always be that. And now that he is back in the spotlight again and Omaha knows him as Ron Gerard, he had to take the stage name again. My uncle is a really up-standing guy – who has done a lot of work for Omaha's community.

  70. Street Sweeper says:

    I'm sure Uncle Ron is a great guy Amanda.

    Tell us again why he HAD to take the "stage" name? Not on stage…

    (btw, I may just call him "Uncle Ron" for now on…)

    Thanks for reading!

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