Friday, January 08, 2010

The ruckus in the LCRP continues

I'm not sure whether or not I should comment on the current Federal Court case Jon Stainbrook filed against Jeff Simpson (link to the case filing via The Blade) over who controls the Lucas County Republican Party (background here and here).

You see, for some reason, I'm mentioned in the document.

I've read it and, other than promoting their version of the events, it appears that the Stainbrook group wants to prevent, via court action, the Ohio Republican Party State Central Committee from voting on which of the two groups to recognize as the official LCRP.

In the case of a dispute between two competing groups, state law puts the decision at the state central committee.

What the Filing Says

I could probably pick apart the accuracy and validity of many claims made in the filing, but one of the points of particular interest is #24 under 'FACTUAL BACKGROUND,':

"Many of these people were drunk and disorderly and necessitated the appearance of the Toledo Fire Department and numerous Toledo Police to keep the peace and prevent violence at the meeting."

However, they clearly identify that the Fire Department was called due to concerns about the fire code:

27. While central committeeman Anthony Boellner was checking in with Gallagher and Bensman, he called the fire department and asked that they come to the building because he felt a fire or safety code was being violated.

So this little 'fact' that the Fire Department was called to 'keep the peace and prevent violence' is clearly false - as their own statements prove.

As for the 'drunk' claim, they reference a Toledo Blade article as proof. But that article doesn't even say people were drunk. Instead, it quotes the 'old' (term used only for clarification purposes to distinguish between those elected in 2008 and those claimed to be elected in 2009) Central Committee Chairman Megan Gallagher, who used a simile.

“I am completely shocked and appalled at the behavior of Lynn Olman and company. It was like a drunken brawl,” Ms. Gallagher said.

Saying something was "like a drunken brawl" is not the same as proving in a court of law that "many...were drunk."

Perhaps Stainbrook's attorney should have been a bit more careful about potential libel issues in his filing.

Why is everybody always picking on me?

And how do I fit in? Well, I wasn't at the meeting, but I spoke to several people who were and I wrote a blog post about what I understood had occurred. I also interviewed Jeff Simpson on WSPD when I was filling in for Brian Wilson on the Afternoon Drive.

Here's what the filing says in #80 under "FIRST CLAIM FOR RELIEF, False Designation of Origin":

Maggie Thurber interviewed Simpson on a talk radio show during which he informed the audience that he and Hoag were elected Chairman of the respective Executive and Central Committees. Thurber posted on her blog a completely inaccurate and contrived account of the events that happened at the LCRP meeting. Thurber also posted the Press Release Defendant’s issued in the Plaintiff’s name to make their sham appear legitimate. (Exhibit R attached to TRO memorandum)

Yes, I did. (Though there shouldn't be an 'apostrophe s' after 'Defendant')

I posted the press release - as did many others. In fact, Lisa Renee at Glass City Jungle posted the release and linked to the Toledo Free Press coverage of the event.

I also interviewed Jeff Simpson - as did Brian Wilson when he filled in for Fred LeFebvre and the Morning News, The Blade, Toledo Free Press and the television stations.

But, strangely, none of those are mentioned. Now why, do you think, I am singled out in this regard?

As for the 'completely inaccurate and contrived account'? I wrote what several people told me - which is just as valid as the proceedings described by Stainbrook.

Now, the whole point in this, I think (because it's really hard to tell from the filings), is to show that people who believe themselves to be the proper Chairman of the LCRP and its Central Committee are - gasp! - acting like it. Stainbrook's claim is that by acting in this capacity, they're harming the 'true' chairmen and the party 'brand.'

I suppose I could make some snide remark about how Stainbrook's actions over the last year (suing Republicans, running candidates against tax-lowering incumbents while endorsing tax-hiking ones, endorsing new taxation for citizens, etc...) have done more to harm the brand than any internal dispute over what did or didn't happen at a meeting, but I'll leave you to make those conclusions.


The filing also claims that people are confused by the two claims.

Well, DUH! Of course people are confused. There are two groups claiming to be the 'official' LCRP.

This has either happened in the past, or was believed to be possible, because there is a state law that deals with resolving this. But Stainbrook doesn't want that process to be followed, so he's trying to stop it by filing this case and requesting a Temporary Restraining Order so it doesn't get to the ORP state central committee.

What happened yesterday and selectivity of the news coverage

Yesterday, as a result of closed-door meetings with the judge on the case, the two sides reached a temporary agreement, though the case continues this afternoon.

In the meantime, the 'new' chairmen held a central committee meeting last night to elect officers and recommend a replacement for Lynn Olman on the Lucas County Board of Elections. They named a secretary and voted to recommend for appointment by the Secretary of State, Dave Dmytryka.

According to the paper,

"The move appeared to be aimed at undermining Mr. Stainbrook's claim that Mr. Olman helped instigate the coup attempt to preserve his paying part-time job on the elections board, which also provides pension and health benefits."

While this appears to be an 'opinion' in the news portion of the paper, it's not very accurate to imply that Olman only wants to keep his pay, pension and health benefits. Olman is already eligible for PERS and had been enrolled in that health coverage. Under PERS rules for health insurance, once employed, he had to make the BOE insurance primary and PAY for the coverage ($1200/year) rather than keep his 'free' coverage through his pension.

The Blade also tries to imply a lack of quorum at the meeting. This is worth mentioning because I'm sure it will come up in some Stainbrook filing or complaint in the future. They write:

The 60 people who signed in and voted at last night's central committee meeting appeared to be unanimously in support of Mr. Simpson and Mr. Hoag, but they fell far short of a majority of the 208 members shown on the list of committee members.

While 60 is less than half of the duly elected central committee members, that is irrelevant. The bylaws of the LCRP state:

The Central Committee Chairman shall convene a meeting of the Central Committee a minimum of two (2) times per calendar year. At least five (5) days written notice by U.S. mail of the meeting shall be provided to the members. Twenty-five (25) voting members of the Central Committee shall constitute a quorum.(emphasis added)

Olman copied me on a letter he sent to Simpson prior to last night's meeting:

January 7, 2010

Dear Chairman Simpson,

First of all let me congratulate on being named the new Chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party. It is my hope that you will be able to bring all Lucas County Republicans together for the purpose of electing rather than fighting Republicans.

Much has recently been printed about my desire to remain on the Lucas County Board of Elections. As is often the case this reporter has misstated my motives to fit his story.

In April 2005 Secretary of State Ken Blackwell removed the four Board of Trustee’s at the Lucas County Board of Elections. Shortly after that myself, Patrick Kriner and Democrats Rita Clark and Gary Johnson were appointed by Secretary Blackwell to fill the vacancies. We inherited a Board of Elections that was soon to go on to oversight by the Secretary of State office. The prior Board had been paralyzed by partisan political bickering and infighting. The four newly appointed Board members, along with the Board’s Director and Deputy Director pledged to the restore the public’s confidence in the election process. By all accounts we have succeeded.

As you are aware my current appointment to the Board of Elections concludes February 28, 2010. I will be happy to serve another four year term on the Board of Elections if it is your wish. I enjoy working with what has become one of the most professional election staffs in the entire state. I will also understand and willingly step aside if you see fit to recommend someone else for the Board position. If you, as Chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party should choose to recommend someone other than myself to the new term I would like to make one request. Please choose someone who is 100% Republican and at the same time 100% committed to the integrity of the election process over political partisanship.

There are some out there who would like to see the Lucas County Board of Elections return to some its darkest days of partisan political infighting and dysfunction. There are some who would like to fill the jobs at the Board office with political patrons rather than election professionals dedicated to the integrity of elections. The Lucas County Board of Elections is now one of the most high functioning and professional offices in the State. My request is for you to recommend a person who will pledge to maintain these high standards and election integrity.


Lynn Olman

Can you say 'class'?

I've known Dave Dmytryka for over 20 years. He and my husband worked together in Sam's first job out of college. He's supported me and we've supported him in campaigns. He is a thoughtful, intelligent, and well-respected conservative. As an engineer, he understands processes and will be an asset to the BOE, especially from a technological standpoint. He is what Olman describes: "100% Republican and at the same time 100% committed to the integrity of the election process over political partisanship." He's an excellent choice and I hope that he will have the opportunity to serve.

But that all depends upon what will happen over the next several days - so stay tuned!


Tim Higgins said...


It cannot be of surprise to anyone that Jon Stainbrook has sought relief in the courts (he probably has a personal parking space at the courthouse) or that his filing contains a rather one-side (and perhaps fictional) view of reality.

It was obvious in reading the filing that this is merely another example of throwing a bunch of (natural fertilizer) at the wall to see if some of it will stick.

Shame on you however, for getting yourself stuck in the middle of this situation! (OK, sarcasm off)

Why in the world would you seek to report and comment on the facts of the case in your blog? Why interview parties involved when subbing on a talk radio show to try and shed some light on the subject? Why reference the relevant sections of the ORC relating to this dispute? Why not just write your own revisionist version of history? (This has certainly worked for others involved with this story.)

Thanks for the hard work in shining a light on this subject.

Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...


I am shocked, shocked I say that you failed to also refer to Jon ( still prefer to refer to him as SUE, for obvious reasons, the least of which is his proclivity for loitering in and littering up the court system) "The Stain" Stainbrook as a class act.

But then, class does have a couple of superfluous letters, misconstruing the true flavor of the subject at hand.

With people like Lynn Olman and Mr. Simpson working within the party, my hopes remain high for a unified, rejunivated Republican Party.

With Sue and its ilk in the mix..., not so much.

And bless you for remaining the calm, reasonable voice of facts and logic in a sea of chaos ;-)

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