Lahoski legal bill $7,500 for Bellevue schools

BELLEVUE Bellevue City Schools are digging nearly $7,500 out of their pockets after receiving a
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

BELLEVUE

Bellevue City Schools are digging nearly $7,500 out of their pockets after receiving a statement for July's legal fees.

The legal bill was racked up by school board leaders James Linder and Martin Shelley. Earlier this summer, the two filed temporary protection orders against former Bellevue schools Superintendent Jim Lahoski after he confronted them at their homes to talk about "school issues."

Considering the two men have a long, controversial track record of disagreements with Lahoski, they feared for their families and took their concerns to Margaret O'Bryon, one of the board's attorneys.

Lahoski's attorney, John Meyer, described the accusations as "the fantasies of these two men and what they wanted to happen ... These men are trying to use the system to fight back."

The temporary protection orders were later dismissed in court, but not without a legal bill for what some Bellevue residents consider to be a "big waste of time."

"This is ridiculous," said Shawn Thoyer, a Bellevue resident. "Our money is going to fight these clowns' absurd legal fees instead of buying our kids books. The board members involved in this shouldn't have to fear Lahoski, they should fear the people who pay taxes who've had to put up with their immature actions."

The district's treasurer, Nancy Beier, said the legal fees from the board's firm, Stumphauzer and O'Toole, totaled $7,431.25.

Beier said the amount will be taken from the general fund, the fund that contributes to most of the school district's purchases and investments. The fund is made up of state and local taxpayer money.

Linder and Shelley still have a small window left to appeal the dismissal motion, but O'Bryon said at this time she is unsure if further action will be taken.

If the men choose not to appeal, Lahoski can petition to regain ownership of the firearms that were confiscated by the Sandusky County Sheriff's department after the orders were issued, but prior to the court hearings.

Lahoski said these were his own private collection as well as weapons passed down from family members.

Shelley and Linder declined comment.