Thursday, April 3, 2014


Now that the Ohio Supreme Court has decided that George T. Maier is going to be on the May 6th ballot as the Democratic candidate for Stark County sheriff, he is likely thinking that the legal wars have come to an end and the only hurdle he has to clear is defeating Republican Larry Dordea in the November election.

How about a federal court action asking the federal courts to intervene in the election on the grounds that Stark Board of Election protestor Cynthia Balas-Bratton was denied "due process of law" on the allegations that Democratic BOE member Deametrious St. John had predetermined his vote on the matter of Maier's qualification and that therefore his participation in the February 21, 2014 hearing on the protest violated Balas-Bratton U.S. Constitution rights?

How about a second interim Sheriff Tim Swanson quo warranto on the issue of Maier qualifying under ORC 311.01(B)(9)(a)  - being a 'fulltime' peace officer - which the Supreme Court found he was not on the basis of his having served as a deputy sheriff for his "friend forever" (per Myers' deposition in Swanson v. Maier, quo warranto), namely; Sheriff Ronald J. Myers of Harrison County?

How about - if a second quo warranto is successful - a third quo warranto filed by Larry Dordea should he lose the general election in November?

Those, readers of the SCPR, are the possibilities of further challenges to Maier notwithstanding yesterday's decision not only upholding Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted's tie-braking vote of March 7th siding with the Democratic BOE members in allowing Maier on the ballot but also closing off a quo warranto challenge to Maier for not meeting the criteria of ORC 311.01(B)(9)(a) [a supervisor at corporal or above for two years].

The Report is told by Craig Conley (Balas Bratton's protest attorney and Tim Swanson's attorney in a civil suit to recover lost wages and benefits)  that George T. Maier was not properly sworn in as deputy sheriff in Harrison County for the period November 8, 2013 through December 5, 2013 that he worked once again for his "friend forever."

So?  A mere technicality, no?

Not according to Conley.

He says that the Ohio Constitution require swearing in and if an official is not sworn in, then if is as if the official was never a public official to the position to which appointed.

Conley says that had Maier been sworn in his November/December stint in Harrison County would have cut off any additional challenge on quo warrantos to Maier's right to be sheriff.

Hmm, no?

In the SCPR's conversation with Conley post-denial of the Balas-Bratton Writ of Prohibition, he was not interested in rehashing the rationale of the decision other than to say that he disagrees with it.

The Report has picked up on an expression that Conley often uses, to wit:  "The Supreme Court doesn't have to be correct [in its decision], it just has to be the Supreme Court."

But it was obvious to The Report that he thinks that Swanson and Balas-Bratton have merely been sidetracked on the respective tracks and that they may well wish to pursue further legal action.

And Conley is game to represent them "pro bono" (i.e. without charge "as a public service")

Conley sounded to the SCPR like someone not at all inclined to counsel his clients to quietly slink away.

After hearing the disappointing news of yesterday Supreme Court decision, Conley, if anything, was fired up and ready to continue the "all out 'legal' warfare" George T. Maier has been besieged with.

On March 11, staunch Maier ally Stark County Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez (may The Report say it) "whined" about George's legal hassles in a letter addressed to the Stark County commissioners thusly:
In closing, I would like to point out that 13 legal and administrative actions have been undertaken regarding the position of the Stark County Sheriff, none of them brought forth by Sheriff George Maier. He has taken each of these head on while continuing to make the safety of the citizens of Stark County his top priority. He deserves, no he has earned the opportunity to face the voters, and the Stark citizens deserve this final legal challenge to be fair, where both sides have legal counsel vigorously representing their client's case.
In the letter (which the SCPR publishes in full at the end of this blog), Gonzalez  wherein he is pushing for the commissioners to appoint Don McTigue (a Columbus attorney unnamed in the letter) to be hired by the commissioners (at $8,000 [also not specifically pointed out in the letter])

But the commissioners (Creighton and Regula) refused on March 13th to join Commissioner Bernabei in his desire to go along with the Dems' McTigue request.

In a March 14th e-mail to the commissioners (see the full text of the e-mail at the end of this blog), Gonzalez does what he does best, he bellyaches about how unfair he thought it was that the commissioners would not take $8,000 of Stark County taxpayer money to hire Don McTigue to advocate for the Stark County Democratic Party BOE position.

He even accuses Commissioners Janet Creighton and Richard Regula of voting on a partisan basis.


The Report's recollection is that Commissioners Creighton and Regula both said that they were not going to put $8,000 more of taxpayer money in the the legal contests on whether or not George T. Maier is qualified to be sheriff.

Back in March of 2013, the commissioners did authorize and, eventually, actually paid $20,000 to Thomas L. Rosenberg of Roetzel & Andress (Columbus Branch) to represent Maier in his losing effort in Swanson's February 12, 2013 filed quo warranto which resulted in Maier's ouster as sheriff on November 6th.

Craig Conley went to great pains to examine the billings that Rosenberg made against the $20,000 set aside and raised questions as to why the commissioners paid quite of number of the line items on the billings.

It is pretty obvious that the commissioners did not do their "due diligence" in making sure that the line items on the billings were ones that Stark County taxpayers ought to be footing the bill for.

To the SCPR, such is out-of-character for the commissioners.

It could be that they decided they were going to pay $20,000 for whatever and that would be it.  However, they are dealing with taxpayer money and are not entitled to adopt such an attitude.

Rosenberg did ask for more money but was refused by the commissioners.

Apparently, Gonzalez did not hear what the commissioners Creighton and Regula said (i.e. it is a money thing) in refusing the Democrat BOE members on McTigue being hired on the Balas-Bratton Writ of Prohibition case.

Could it be that Chairman Gonzalez cannot get his facts straight?

He may believe the Creighton/Regula votes were a political partisanship thing.

But Creighton and Regula did not say or otherwise indicate that their "no" on hiring McTigue vote was because they are Republicans and George T. Maier is a Democrat.

While The Report is on the "fact" thing which is what Gonzalez whines about when someone like the SCPR sees things differently than he does, let's look at another thing in the e-mail that The Report does not think Gonzalez got right is his statement:

Billy Sherer, Jr. (the replacement for St. John whose term expired on February 28, 2013) was present. 

Maybe the SCPR missed something, but when did Billy Sherer, Jr ask to address the commissioners at the meeting in question?

And why would Sherer be brought in as the spokesman for the Stark Dems BOE members anyway?  St. John and Sam Ferruccio, Jr were the two who voted on the Democrat position on February 21st.

But to repeat.  Had Billy Sherer stood up in the meeting of the 13th and started speaking, the SCPR has no doubt that he would have been allowed to proceed.

At the end of the meeting as he was walking out, George Maier did speak.  He objected to Prosecutor Deborah Dawson being part of the executive session.

Nobody tried to cut him off.

The SCPR has enough experience with the current commissioners to be satisfied that Gonzalez's assertion is total nonsense.

As readers of the SCPR know, The Report attends nearly every Stark County commissioners meeting and never has The Report witnessed these commissioners ever, ever refusing to hear someone who wants to address them.

Absolutely, never!

And there is no three or five minute rule that many Stark County subdivision governments impose on their citizens.

They are generous to a fault in letting citizens vent themselves.

The Report does think that "Mr. Stickler for the Facts Gonzalez" has plenty of problems with facts himself and ought to address his shortcomings when his version of the facts do not square up with the public record.

The Report thinks Gonzalez is pretty much the clone of one William J. Healy, II (mayor of Canton) who is constantly spinning things the way he sees them and parlays them as being "the official facts" and, of course, abides no other take on what others think the facts are.

The SCPR suspects that Gonzalez has fed The Report a line on a number of occasions.

Given his bent to whine and bellyache, it could be that Gonzalez will go ballistic when he learns that his words "the Stark citizens deserve this final legal challenge to be fair' may be a bit premature.

The SCPR would be surprised if the Balas-Bratton Writ of Prohibition is the last litigation George T. Maier has to deal with.

Here are the Gonazlez communications in their entirety.

First, the letter:


Dear Honorable Commissioner's, [sic]

I am writhing in regards to the question of appointment of legal counsel for the Stark County Board of Elections due to a conflict of interest held by the Stark County Prosecutor. There is a 3-2 decision denying the claim that Sheriff Maier is not qualified to be placed on the May primary ballot. As of now he will be on the ballot.

I'm confident you are all familiar with the history behind the case, so i will not waste your time reiterating specific details. The fact is we do have a decision to place Sheriff George Maier on the 2014 Primary Ballot and it is being challenged. The members of the Board of Elections need to stand behind that decision. The seriousness of the ramifications associated with this legal challenge and outcome will reverberate throughout our community for many years.

The Secretary of State's ruling affirmed the democratic right of allowing the people to choose who their next sheriff should be. I think we can all agree this is one of the most important and treasured privileges of our democracy. When choosing the council for the Board of Elections in this matter I hope you will consider the following factors.

This is not a neutral issue, the ruling was pro Maier and therefore an attorney with the most well versed background of the pertinent arguments for the Maier side of the case would be the most resourceful. This knowledge may also prove to be the most economical in the long run as this saga continues to unfold.

I strongly urge you to consider asking the Board of Elections, the true client in this case, for their recommendation. Any referral from the Prosecutor's office or retaining any attorney who has in the past, or Is employed by John Ferrero presents a severe conflict of interest. The last thing we need with over a year invested into this issue is any semblance of another conflict of interest, or any reason for further litigation.

In closing, I would like to point out that 13 legal and administrative actions have been undertaken regarding the position of the Stark County Sheriff, none of them brought forth by Sheriff George Maier. He has taken each of these head on while continuing to make the safety of the citizens of Stark County his top priority. He deserves, no he has earned the opportunity to face the voters, and the Stark SS citizens deserve this final legal challenge to be fair, where both sides have legal counsel vigorously representing their client's case.

Thank You for Your Consideration
Randy Gonzalez, Chairman

Second, the e-mail:

Thomas Bernabei

From:    Randy Gonzalez ...
To:    Janet Creighton ...Date:    3/14/20146:3:$ AM
CC:    ... 

After reading the Repository the facts there are not correct. Attorney McTigue was not at any meeting in reference to the Sheriff he he [sic] was asked to review the Sheriffs [sic] qualification and wrote a letter before he was appointed the second time. Others who reviewed Sheriff Mailers [sic] qualification were attorneys Schulman, Warren Price, Mike Thompson, and Steve Okey and all of them were present to answer question of the DCC at the second election of the Sheriff. The Sheriff also had his own legal counsel and later Attorney Ferruccio did an in depth review and also confirmed the qualification. Only after extensive review did Sheriff Maier apply [sic as to sentence structure] he certainly did not want what has taken place nor did I. The rule of law has been followed he is the Sheriff, [sic as to sentence structure] he is on the ballot and he is qualified.

The idea that McTigue should not be part of mis because he participated in the past is also flawed. Do you mink the AG is going to say "hey let's find someone neural [sic], someone who's background on the case is from the other side of the argument or better yet someone who doesn't even believe in his client is ruling.  [sic as to sentence structure] Hell no, he is going to find the person who can best support and believe in Mr Husted's ruling. Like it or not their  is a 3-2 ruling and as a Board I'm sure you understand that.

The majority of what has taken place in opposition to his qualification have come directly from the Prosecutor and his staff members one being a former Sheriff employee. [sic as to sentence structure]  Now Stark County has a longtime former assistaj it Prosecutor representing the BOE because he was free? There could have been a 3 or 4 to choose from that also could have been free if the BOE members would have signed off. That was not discussed publicly or any conversation from the client here, the BOE. There was a BOE member present at your meeting who also was not given the opportunity to speak.

Lastly we are all sick of tax dollars being spent. The Sheriff enough that he was willing to put his money where his mouth is. When I was asked to get the Democrats to endorse the sales tax we did, [sic as to sentence structure] help on the campaign we did we did, [sic] and in fact Kody did a great deal at no charge and when we appointed a Republican to a County office we did because the voters put him there. Now in return we get strict party line votes from the Board of Commissioners and the BOE. This decision was not fair, nor justified or properly publicly discussed. And by the way Commissioner Creighton [sic as to sentence structure] was the only one who acknowledged the letter l emailed you [sic as to sentence structure] did the others get it?

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