COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- Tax questions have dogged Democrat Ed FitzGerald's pick for running mate since State Sen. Eric Kearney was announced. For 96 minutes Kearney hosted a conference call with reporters to answer those questions.

"This is not, nor has it ever been, a matter of my wife and myself failing to pay our personal income taxes," Kearney said, blaming the tax issues on his businesses.

The Kearneys own KGL Media, which publishes the Cincinnati Herald which is a community newspaper targeted at African-Americans. Kearney said declining ad revenues and other economic challenges caused financial issues and rather than close down the paper he's been working with the IRS to clear up the tax issues.

"We worked with the Internal Revenue Service to get KGL back on a regular tax payment schedule and we assumed responsibility for our portion of the company's unpaid taxes," he said.

KGL still owes more than a half-million dollars in federal taxes and is disputing $95,000 in state taxes. The Kearneys are responsible for about $83,000 in taxes owed by KGL to the IRS. In all the outstanding tax liabilities are about $700,000. The Kearneys also had nearly $15,000 in debts to American Express which they've paid down to about $2,100.

Kearney released what he called "unprecedented" financial details about himself and his companies. He says that the FitzGerald campaign knew about the financial issues before selecting him as running mate.

"Our finances have been an open book to the campaign," he said.

Shutting down the company would have meant the loss of about 10 jobs at the Cincinnati Herald. Kearney says he put his own financial situation and political future on the line to keep that from happening.

"This is about a small business that went through tough times. We faced those challenges, we accepted responsibility. We didn't take the easy path of just shutting our doors or hiding," Kearney said.

Kearney added that he's never been asked to get out of the race, nor does he intend to do so.

"I'm in it. We're in it all the way and we're going to see this through."

FitzGerald was not on the call to answer any questions.