MAYBE GOD HAS SOMETHING ELSE FOR ELUM TO DO?
In yours truly's life experience, when people do what Elum is alleged to have done, typically they invoke God has the Justifier-In-Chief of an otherwise unacceptable act.
Here is what Elum is reported to have said about allegations that he improperly overstepped the bounds of ethical propriety in agreeing to help an about to be dispossessed tenant and Elum friend which it is alleged resulted in Elum one-on-one telephone conversations abusing a Massillon landlady in his efforts in the context of her being represented by legal counsel.
For an explicit description of the allegations, see the direct language of the complaint provided at the end of this blog.
“I did what God would want you to do — is to help people. I had a person with money and I didn’t want him to be homeless. I didn’t pull rank. Anybody would do the same thing to try to help somebody.”
Apparently for Elum, he has God in his hip pocket and God does not care one wit for how the land lady gets treated?
A true "the end justifies the means" example, no?
Edward J. Elum, the moral crusader?
From the transcript of the complaint charging Elum, to wit:
- Respondent's conduct as alleged in Count I violates the Code of Judicial Conduct:
- Rule 1.2 [ a judge shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety];
- Rule 2.4(B) [a judge shall not permit family, social, political, financial, or other interests or relationships to influence the judge's judicial conduct or judgment J; Rule 2.4( C) [ a judge shall not convey or permit others to convey the impression that any person or organization is in a position to influence the judge];
- Rule 2.6(B) [a judge shall not act in a manner that coerces any party into settlement];
- Rule 3.l(C) [a judge shall not participate in activities that would appear to a reasonable person to undermine the judge's independence, integrity, or impartiality];
- Rule 3.l(D) [a judge shall not engage in conduct that would appear to a reasonable person to be coercive]; Rule 3.10 [a judge shall not practice law]; and the Rules of Professional Conduct: 8.4( d) [ a lawyer shall not engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice].
"I did what God would want you to do ... "
More than a tad self-serving, no?
With the clear implication that God stands at the vindicate Elum whatever action he decides to undertake.
And from the looks of things (a previous suspended six month suspension from the practice of law, October 12, 2010), it could be that Elum's days as a Massillon Municipal Court will be coming to an involuntary end.
For if Elum is actually suspended from the practice of law or God Forbid! (to some) disbarred, he cannot be a judge.
For one of Elum's cheerleaders, former Stark Dems' chairman, retired Canton Clerk of Courts chief deputy clerk and current Jackson Township fiscal officers, such would be big loss, to wit:
Judge Elum is one of the best Muni Court Judges in recent history. It is the true Peoles Court and he has tremendous common sense approach to it. I have a great respect for the Judge and person Ed Elum.
And Elum better hope that God sees this matter the same way Gonzalez does.
The Report thinks this second alleged infraction of judicial disciplinary rules in the words of Vice President Joe Biden is a "really big f*c*ing deal."
The Stark County Political Report broke news on the latest Elum alleged transgression on Thursday last (LINK).
But beyond last Last Thursday's blog, way back in March 2010, the SCPR alerted the Massillon public (LINK1, LINK 2) to the ethical problems yours truly thinks is part and parcel of his make up.
And here is the Elum e-mail to the SCPR the underlying situation of which (i.e. the reference to Chief Rob Williams) which in an ironic twist turned out to be one of the bases on which Elum himself was subject to discipline of the Ohio Supreme Court in October, 2012 (LINK)..
--- On Sat, 3/13/10, EJEJUDGE@aol.com <EJEJUDGE@aol.com> wrote:
From: EJEJUDGE@aol.com <EJEJUDGE@aol.com>
Subject: Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct
Date: Saturday, March 13, 2010, 10:17 PM
I received some excepts on your blog covering a meeting that I had last week with Chief Rob Williams and Chief Prosecutor John Simpson.
Our meeting was very constructive and helpful. Your statements are false and misleading. You have no conscience, lack professionalism and make no effort to ascertain the facts.
As a member of the Bar, you are an embarrassment. You do nothing to promote the high ethical standards of our legal profession. By publishing your false and derogatory statements about the Court and Clerk of Court, you may have violated Rule IV below.
If you have a complaint against me as a judge, please feel free to call me to set up a meeting to discuss your complaint.
I do not recall you ever practicing in the Massillon Municipal Court or having any contact with you for you to have a grievance or issue with the court or me.
I do not subscribe to your blog but have directed those lawyers who are offended by your groundless and frivolous attacks on the judiciary to file the appropriate complaint(s) with Disciplinary Counsel.
RULE IV. Professional Responsibility.
Section 1. Applicability.
The Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct, effective February 1, 2007, as amended, shall be binding upon all persons admitted to practice law in Ohio. The willful breach of the Rules shall be punished by reprimand, suspension, disbarment, or probation as provided in Gov. Bar R. V.
Section 2. Duty of Lawyers.
It is the duty of the lawyer to maintain a respectful attitude toward the courts, not for the sake of the temporary incumbent of the judicial office, but for the maintenance of its supreme importance. Judges and Justices, not being wholly free to defend themselves, are peculiarly entitled to receive the support of lawyers against unjust criticism and clamor. Whenever there is proper ground for serious complaint of a judicial officer, it is the right and duty of the lawyer to submit a grievance to proper authorities. These charges should be encouraged and the person making them should be protected.
[Effective: February 28, 1972; amended effective July 15, 1974; July 1, 1983; January 1, 1993; February 1, 2007.]
I have attached Ohio's Rules of Professional Conduct
Here is the SCPR's response:
Martin Olson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
03/14/10 at 2:36 PM
I wrote the two blogs in question as an opinion journalist exercising my First Amendment rights on issues that are out in the public domain.
We know that Judge Elum can write ugly e-mails.
But in the light that he is person with enormous ethical problems anything he has to say about anybody else (yours truly included) has no credibility whatsoever..
And, of course, he doesn't appear to have a repentant "I need to apologize" bone in his body.
Such is normally the case for quintessentially arrogant people.
A person with Eddie Elum's problem with responsible handling of power should never, ever be a judge.
SCPR thinks that Disciplinary Counsel should expand its investigation to include a look at other allgegations of Elum ethical misconduct, to wit: (published in area mainstream media)
He intimidated me back in 1997 ...I was in front of him for a dui....when he asked what school I went to I replied mck...then he started treating me like I was nothing...he called me carrot top n many other names....he very much intimidated me...ppl wrote into the independent complaining of the way he treated me...I hope he gets disbarred....finally!!!
The Report suspects that many incidents such as the one recited above exist in Elum's bench history. And yours truly has to believe that Massillon-based mainstream media has known about such incidents and has covered for His Honor.
If one digs deep enough, reported problems with alleged Elum ethical problems go all the way back to his days in the Ohio attorney general's office.
Neat for Judge Elum if he can pull it off.
That is to say, appropriate God a vindication for himself.
Most of us think God is the God of everybody including the the landlady and on balance some of us think God may look at Elum in Biblical terms as: "having been weighed in the balances and found wanting." (Daniel 5:27)
Perhaps Elum should spare the Ohio Supreme Court having to force him out being a judge.
It appears that his true vocation might be as a full-time mentor at the Family Living Center, to wit:
Judge Elum has proven he can do good work, to wit:At our 2015 Annual Dinner, Judge Eddie Elum regaled us with stories from the history of the Family Living Center. Judge Elum was a key personality in the founding of the FLC in 1993 and continues to be a strong supporter today. We are grateful to him beyond words for his invaluable contribution over the years! (excerpt from edition of AboutStark)
It could be that God is sitting back and letting his devout servant Edward J. Elum of undergoing the humiliation of having ethics charges filed against him in order to give him a hint that he, God Almighty, has a higher calling for His Honor, no?
Why doesn't Judge Elum give God a helping and simply resign?
Allegations in current complaint:
4. On May 11, 2015, Antonio Pettis approached respondent in the courthouse parking lot and requested his assistance with a legal problem Mr. Pettis was having with his landlord, Susan Beatty.
5. Mr. Pettis was a family friend of respondent's, having played on the Massillon High School football team with respondent's son, Paul, and having recently been to the Elum family home at the invitation of respondent's wife, Margaret, for help filling out a Police Academy scholarship application.
6. Mr. Pettis had failed to pay his rent due May 1, 2015. Ms. Beatty had posted the 3-day ·notice to vacate on his door on or about May 4, 2015, but had not yet filed any eviction action in respondent's court.
7. Mr. Pettis described the dispute to respondent and informed him that although Mr. Pettis had not timely paid the rent due on 11,,fay 1, he currently had enough money to pay the rentand wanted respondent's help resolving the matter.
8. Respondent agreed to help Mr. Pettis and took him into the courthouse to respondent's chambers. Once there, respondent telephoned Ms. Beatty on behalf of Mr. Pettis and, during a nine-minute conversation, directed her to accept a resolution of the dispute that was favorable to Mr. Pettis.
9. Respondent identified himself at the outset of the conversation to Ms. Beatty. Respondent knew during the course of the conversation that Ms. Beatty was aware that respondent was a Massillon municipal court judge.
10. Ms. Beatty was taken aback by the call. She was both surprised and intimidated by the substance of respondent' s can, by his authoritative tone and by the fact that he was a judge.
11. In response to inquiries from Relator, and in his October 9, 2015 deposition, respondent stated that he knew his telephone call to Ms. Beatty was wrong, that it was a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct and that it was a "mistake". Nevertheless, respondent at no time terminated the call because of his awareness that it was improper. Instead, he continued with the substance of the call and the attempt to intimidate Ms. Beatty into complying with Mr. Pettis' wishes.
12. During the course of the conversation, respondent represented the interests of Mr. Pettis as if he were acting as Mr. Pettis' attorney and advocating in a negotiation, albeit on an unequal footing, with Ms. Beatty.
13. Respondent initially instructed Ms. Beatty to accept the late rent payment from Mr. Pettis.
14. Ms. Beatty responded that she did not believe an amicable resolution was possible, that Mr. Pettis was chronically late with his rent payments, was difficult to deal with and sometimes verbally abusive, and that she did not wish to retain Mr. Pettis as a tenant.
15. Respondent then adopted a tone of command and ordered Ms. Beatty to be quiet and listen. When she attempted to respond, the judge interrupted her to clarify that he did not want to hear anything from her, he simply wanted her to understand and do what he was instructing her to do. Respondent informed Ms. Beatty that if she had anything to say, she could have her attorney telephone him later.
16. Although respondent was conscious that an attorney is prohibited from contacting a represented party without obtaining informed consent from opposing counsel, and although he repeatedly told Ms. Beatty to have her attorney contact him, respondent failed to ask Ms. Beatty if she was in fact represented by counsel, or for the name of her attorney. Respondent also failed to offer to conference in Ms. Beatty's counsel so that
counsel could participate in the conversation and so she could have the benefit of his legal advice during the "negotiation".
17. Although Ms. Beatty had already voluntarily extended Mr. Pettis' deadline for vacating the property from May 7 to May 10, respondent instructed Ms. Beatty to permit Mr. Pettis to stay until Tuesday, May 12 in order to have additional time to remove his belongings from the unit.
18. During the telephone conversation, respondent openly, and within the hearing of Ms. Beatty, consulted with Mr. Pettis regarding his demands.
19. Following one such consultation, respondent instructed Ms. Beatty to return to Mr. Pettis $900.00, the equivalent of two months' rent, as a refund of his security deposit. Respondent made this demand despite the fact that Mr. Pettis had only tendered a security deposit of $450.00.
20. At another point in the conversation, Ms. Beatty mistakenly told respondent that she had already had the locks changed on Mr. Pettis' apartment.
21. Respondent threatened Ms. Beatty that she had made a grave error and would be liable to Mr. Pettis for treble damages for prematurely changing the locks without a court order. Respondent told Ms. Beatty that if she did not agree to Mr. Pettis' terms, he would end up owning the entire property and she would never get him out.
22. As a final instruction, respondent forbade Ms. Beatty to charge Mr. Pettis any rent for May 1 through May 12, the unpaid days during which Mr. Pettis retained possession and control of the property.
23. Mr. Pettis moved out of the apartment on May 12, 2015, the day after the telephone call.
24. Upon vacating the unit, Mr. Pettis left trash, personal property and damaged furniture on the front lawn of the apartment. Ms. Beatty subsequently bore the expense of having the furniture, personal property and trash hauled away by a private trash removal company.
25. Ms. Beatty did not ever file an eviction action against Mr. Pettis or any other action for back rent, damage to the apartment, or to recover the expense of the trash removal.
26. On May 14, 2015, respondent again telephoned Ms. Beatty and left a message on her answering service asking her to return his call or to have her attorney call him about the Pettis matter.
27. Ms. Beatty did not return the call from respondent, but did contact her attorney. George Urban, to discuss the matter. She learned from Mr. Urban that it was possible to file a grievance against the judge for his intimidating and unethical conduct.
28. On May 22, 2015, respondent telephoned Ms. Beatty a third time about the Pettis matter and left a message on her answering service requesting that she return his call or have her attorney call him.
29. Ms. Beatty did not return the third call from respondent, but following that call, she obtained a grievance form and filed her grievance with relator.
30. At his October 9, 2015 deposition, respondent admitted that his calls and conversation were improper under Ohio ethics law.
31. At the deposition, respondent also admitted that the disagreement between the parties was more complicated than he understood at the time of the call, and that the complexity was foreseeable and should have been anticipated by respondent. He also admitted that the purpose of the call was to influence the conduct of Ms. Beatty with respect to her legal rights and interests.
32. Also at his deposition, respondent conceded that any comment regarding possible treble damages or other consequences for changing the locks constituted a legal opinion that was intended to influence Ms. Beatty' s conduct. He further acknowledged that he understood how a person in Ms. Beatty's position could feel intimidated by receiving such a call from a judge.
33. Respondent knew at the time of his calls to Ms. Beatty that the matter was not pending in his court, was not appropriate for mediation, and that he was not an appropriate mediator.
Nevertheless, in responding to relator's letters of inquiry, Respondent initially implied that the conversation was part of a new pilot mediation program he had established at the court.
Over the course of the investigation, and in response to specific questions from relator, respondent has changed his position to an acknowledgement, both in writing and at his deposition, that the conversation was not a mediation and was not a part of any mediation program at the court.