By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer
Last night, Peter Ujvagi was naming his heroes.
As he thanked his fellow councilmen for electing him council president, he pointed to his parents, who had come to America from Hungary 41 years ago to avoid Communist oppression. He named Msgr. Geno Baroni, a Catholic priest who was a national advocate of ethnic neighborhoods.
And he named Bill Boyle, the former Lucas County Democratic Party chairman, who Mr. Ujvagi said taught him the value of loyalty to a political party.
But there was a twist for Mr. Boyle.
“I think he may have forgotten the lessons he once taught us,” Mr. Ujvagi said.
Mr. Boyle endorsed and provided financial backing for Republican Nick Wichowski in his unsuccessful challenge to Mayor Carty Finkbeiner.
Mr. Boyle also made waves in 1993 by running against the Democratic Party’s nominee, Peter Silverman, in that year’s mayoral primary. He got the nod to fill a council vacancy in 1995 over the party’s nominee, Wade Kaps zukiewicz, after privately lobbying council members to appoint him to the seat.
“I would suggest that he look back to his early days to see the lessons about loyalty he taught us,” Mr. Ujvagi said.
Reached at his Michigan home, Mr. Boyle said he had no qualms about supporting Mr. Wichowski.
“Loyalty to the party has always been very important to me, but I never considered Carty to be part of that loyalty,” he said. “I never considered Carty Finkbeiner to be a Democrat.”
He said that supporting the right candidate did not always mean following the party line.
“I can see where Peter’s coming from, but I have my own ideas about loyalty and what that means.”
Mr. Ujvagi said he considered Mr. Boyle a hero because he gave him opportunities within the party shortly after he entered politics.
“He had principles about loyalty, about loyalty to the party,” he said. “He’s a good man with a good heart, with the city’s best interests at heart. He really is one of my heroes.”