Friday, April 19, 2013

Why the need for a second DeGidio residency hearing?

Lucas County Board of Elections member, Anthony DeGidio has been disciplined by the Supreme Court for co-mingling a client's trust account with his own funds. He was given a two-year suspension of his law license which could be reduced to one year if he completes a continuing education course on the proper handling of client trust accounts.

The Blade has the full story, but what is most interesting are the last two paragraphs of the article:

Mr. DeGidio last month survived an attempt by fellow Republicans in Lucas County to remove him from the elections board, but the effort is being renewed.

Ron Rothenbuhler, chairman of the four-person elections board as well as chairman of the Lucas County Democratic Party, said the board has been advised by its attorney that it must hold a second hearing on the question of whether Mr. DeGidio is a legal resident and a legal voter in Lucas County. He said the date for that second hearing will be set when the board meets on Tuesday.

I thought this was very odd considering that the license suspension has nothing to do with his residency. After some checking around I learned that John Marshall filed a second challenge to DeGidio's residency because he 'forgot' to subpoena DeGidio the first time around.

I guess I didn't know there were do-overs to such challenges because - oh, yeah, I forgot...

In case you need a re-cap,

Marshall files a challenge to DeGidio's eligibility to vote in Lucas County. He produces, according to The Blade, hundreds of pages of so-called 'proof' that DeGidio doesn't reside in Lucas County. Some of the 'proof' was before DeGidio was even on the elections board, so it was irrelevant to the challenge.

But all the so-called evidence was not enough to overcome a Supreme Court ruling about residency that says regardless of where you might stay/live on a temporary basis, it is your intent to be a voting resident of your home county that matters. (The Court said a lot more, but you get the drift.)

Accordingly, the BOE voted 2-1 against the challenge, with the two Democrats voting to dismiss it and only Stainbrook voting to uphold it. DeGidio wasn't present - and couldn't have voted anyway - though he was represented by an attorney for the hearing.

In the same post I also highlighted this hypocrisy:

In reporting on the hearing, The Blade wrote:

Attorney James Perlman, who represented Mr. DeGidio at the hearing, tried to cross-examine Mr. Marshall and the legitimacy of the documents several times, but Mr. Marshall refused to answer any of the attorney's questions. Mr. DeGidio did not attend the hearing. "I'm not going to talk to you anymore," Mr. Marshall said when asked how he obtained such things as Mr. DeGidio's insurance records.

When Mr. Rothenbuler explained that cross-examination is part of the hearing process, Mr. Marshall told him, "I'm not going to answer his questions."

Mr. Marshall did acknowledge to Mr. Perlman that he launched an investigation of Mr. DeGidio after speaking with Mr. Stainbrook and Meghan Gallagher, the Board of Elections' director.

Further down in the article, is this:

Mr. Stainbrook expressed frustration with the board's decision. He said Mr. DeGidio's absence from the hearing undermined the proceedings because Mr. Marshall couldn't question him.

So it was Stainbrook who wanted DeGidio present ... and obviously that means Marshall, an FoS (Friend of Stainbrook), files another challenge claiming 'do-over.'

Get it?

And what about those subpoenas?

According to the Ohio Revised Code, the Board (defined as the four appointed members) has the ability to issue subpoenas for the purpose of residency hearings. But do they have to actually vote on that or can they delegate that authority? If they have to vote, would all members have voted to subpoena records and information about DeGidio PRIOR to his time on the board?

I know - there I go asking good questions again....

But here's the bigger issue: the board has decided that DeGidio's intent to retain residency in Lucas County is valid and that is all that is needed under Ohio law. What's DeGidio going to say if he is subpoenaed and required to appear: "I've changed my mind"???

And if DeGidio has to answer questions, doesn't Marshall realize that he'll have to answer questions too?

That might prove to be very embarrassing if he tells the truth about how he ended up making the challenge in the first place.

And then what happens?

If the BOE again votes to uphold DeGidio's residency, will someone else come forward to challenge it? And how many more after that? Will it be a never-ending series of challenges until DeGidio throws up his hands and goes away as Stainbrook would like?

More importantly, will the two Democrat members of the BOE stand for that?

Only time will tell. Until then, we'll wait to see what happens at Tuesday's BOE meeting.

Stay tuned....

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