Dwelle sues Fant for defamation, slander

SANDUSKY Now that a request for information did not turn out as planned, Perkins Township Trustee Bi
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

Now that a request for information did not turn out as planned, Perkins Township Trustee Bill Dwelle has sued Perkins Police Chaplain the Rev. Thomas Fant.

Dwelle filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Erie County Common Pleas Court against Fant for defamation, slander and false light. He is asking for judgment in excess of $25,000.

The lawsuit arose after an initial request for information was filed by Dwelle against Fant in December 2006 regarding events at a Perkins Township Trustees meeting.

At the September 2006 meeting, Fant asked Dwelle if he made racist remarks about two black police officers working undercover at the police department, including the use of the "N" word.

Presiding Judge Roger Binette ruled Sept. 11 that Fant did not have to reveal who allegedly told him Dwelle had used the word. Fant claimed he learned that information while counseling a police officer as a clergyman -- thus making the information private.

But that ruling did not end the dispute.

Dwelle referred all comments to his attorney, William H. Smith Jr.

"We are appalled that a man of the cloth would make such statements," Smith said of Fant questioning Dwelle in the first place. "We had to do what we had to do."

Fant could not be reached for comment. His attorney on the previous request for information was W. Scott Ramsey of Cleveland. Ramsey could not be reached for comment.