A complaint against the Fayette County Republican Central Committee over the appointment of a new auditor has not been resolved and is scheduled to go to trial Oct. 31.
During a hearing held in August, the Fayette County Republican Central Committee’s counsel, William Junk, stated in court that it was a “very unusual case” and said that he was confident the matter would be resolved before it heads to trial.
The lawsuit disputes the committee’s election of Aaron Coole to the Fayette County Auditor position after the retirement of Mike Smith earlier this year. A complaint filed by Jomi Ward, Cathy Templin and former auditor Smith allege the committee violated Ohio open meeting laws during the April 13 vote that resulted in Coole’s win.
The suit alleges the committee entered into executive session April 13 but did not define the purpose of the meeting; alleges no roll call vote was taken prior to entering into executive session; alleges that while still in executive session the committee voted on who to appoint to the vacant county auditor seat; alleges the vote was conducted in executive session by a secret ballot; alleges the committee then re-opened the meeting and declared Coole as the winner; alleges the committee refused to release to the public either (a) the vote totals received by Coole and candidate Mossbarger or (b) information regarding which candidate each of the committee members voted for; alleges the committee did not keep any minutes of the meeting.
According to the answer filed in court, the committee denies the allegations.
Members of the Fayette County Republican Central Committee listed in the suit include Jim Chrisman, Lauran Perrill, Susan Meriweather, John Link, Ronald Palmer, Evelyn Pentzer, Marlene Rankin, Andrew Bivens, Oscar Mckinney, Sidney Terhune, Ted Hawk, Dan Roberts, Frank Breedlove, Wayne Arnold, Gordon Conn, Karen Abendshein, Tabitha Melvin, Susan Jordan, Carol Creamer, Charles Anderson, Robin Beekman, Diane O’Cull, E. Renee Lloyd, Martha Cooper, and Ruth Ann Ruth.
According to court records, committee members are listed as witnesses for the upcoming trial. On Monday, Oct. 30 at 1 p.m., just a day prior to the trial scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 31, an evidentiary hearing will be held in open court on the matter.