Leave Feedback

Appeal brews trouble for man

Tom Jackson • May 2, 2014 at 11:40 AM

Sandusky County gadfly John Brewer has lost another appeal to a government body — and this time it’s going to cost him $556.

The Ohio Elections Commission ruled 6-0 his latest complaint was unjustified and voted 4-2 to levy $556 in attorney’s fees and costs.

Brewer is unhappy about Rhonda Damschroder’s “placeholder” candidacy for state representative in Sandusky and Seneca counties.

Rhonda Damschroder is running as a write-in candidate in Tuesday’s Republican primary for the Ohio House District 88 race.

She has said if she wins, she’ll quit the race so Republican officials can appoint her husband, state Rep. Rex Damschroder, R-Fremont, as the candidate, allowing him to run for re-election. The strategy was adopted after Rex Damschroder made a mistake in his nominating petition and had to withdraw.

Brewer contends her candidacy is fraudulent, but Sandusky County’s board of elections disagreed, voting 4-0 to dismiss Brewer’s complaint.

Brewer tried again with a complaint to the Ohio Elections Commission, but a three-member panel rejected his complaints.

So he appealed to the full seven-member commission. One member, Democrat Terrance Conroy, was absent, but the other members voted 6-0 to reject his complaint, said Philip Richter, the panel’s executive director.

After an effort to impose $1,265 failed on a 3-3 vote, the commission members voted 4-2 to impose the $556 — $500 in attorney’s fees, and $56 in costs. The panel’s two Democrats at the meeting, Degee Wilhelm and Jayme Smoot, both voted no.

Brewer wrote in an email that the commission was compelled by law to impose a sanction after turning him down. He wrote he had to seek the Wednesday meeting to get his case heard before Tuesday’s primary.

“I wanted this out of the way before the election” he wrote.

Donald Brey, Rhonda Damschroder’s attorney, said Thursday the $556 was reasonable as a response to Brewer’s complaint, which Brey characterized as frivolous.

“It was a fair and appropriate decision,” Brey said. “The Ohio Elections Commission is not a court of appeals for the decisions of the Sandusky County board of elections”

Brey said Brewer complained about the election board’s actions in spite of the fact Brewer wasn’t there for most of the meeting and has no “personal knowledge” of what happened, as required by the commission’s rules.

“He wasn’t there because he walked out of the board of elections,” Brey said. “He has no personal knowledge of the words that came out of my mouth when he was gone”

Recommended for You