New suit filed against Erie MetroParks

A disgruntled woodsman recently sued Erie MetroParks, alleging district employees abused and mistreated a land agreement the two sides agreed upon.
Andy Ouriel
Jun 4, 2012


A disgruntled woodsman recently sued Erie MetroParks, alleging district employees abused and mistreated a land agreement the two sides agreed upon.

Gil Steinen, furious with how park officials have treated the Joe Steinen Wildlife Area, filed a lawsuit in Erie County Common Pleas Court.

Steinen essentially donated 376 acres, valued close to $20 million, off Cleveland Road to Erie MetroParks in 2004.

While Steinen received $2.25 million for the land, his priority in transferring parcel ownership resulted by him wanting to ensure his family's legacy and love for hunting forever resonated in the area.

Steinen also wanted to preserve a natural area where children can learn about the outdoors and hone outdoor skills their forefathers depended on.

For more on Steinen's lawsuit against Erie MetroParks pick up Sunday's Register.


Erie County Resident

To Mr. Steinen and family.

I hope you prevail in this proceding and recoup most if not all of what you have lost.

The Answer Person

They DONATED AND WERE PAID $2.25 million so they lost nothing! 

What they/he didn't do was be smart enough to set up a PAYING TRUST to operate the donation as he wanted under his guidelines.

You donated it.

Get over it.


Left Sandtown

Nice guys finish last,til the very end.May God Bless you all! 

Whiskey Tango F...

Uh oh! Its about time someone else uncovers the crap that the metro thieves are pulling. At least Mr. Steinen is still here to carry out his wishes. Most people leave things in a will and never see the true outcome of what they THOUGHT the contract says. I'd imagine he still has the money to give back to the metro parks. If it does get straightened out he should consider a hunt club or donate it to a conservation league.

I am sick and tired of hearing POOR ME when the tax levies are on the ballot, and then see millions of dollars of "GRANT MONEY" magically appear when a massive expensive tract of land appears on the block for sale. This land is also some of the most valuable realestate in Erie County which takes it out of the tax base and the schools pocket and places that financial burden on the other land owners... Did I mention the taxpayers aren't allowed to use this land? Its a "preserve". Who payed the legal fees for the rails to trails? The taxpayers did. Who pays these legal fees? You and me! Mr. Steinen is absolutely in the right on this. It is a breach of contract!

Whiskey Tango F...

oops it posted twice!

R U Kidding me

all the crap that this metro parks has does illegally and the tax payor keeps voting them more money I really don't get it. all the money that was spent on law suits and lawyers is un believable they pretty much do what they want. It could be a good organization but greed and goverment metality has set in. 


there were stipulations in that land agreement but the crooks at erie metroparks decided that those stipulations didn't matter once they gained control of the land. legal agreements mean nothing to erie metroparks yet the sheep keep voting yes to park levies. read the supplement letter above answer person to get a clue. whiskey tango foxtrot is correct. people donate money and land  once they pass on to provide for the public good such as a park. many local city parks once belonged to people who gave the land away with the stipulation that the land must forever remain a park. decades later, the parks are sold to private people or are not used as parks. stipulations in the agreements that the park must forever be a park are ignored because dead people cannot come back to life to fight for the breach of contract. native americans had treaties with the government but the government breached the treaties. why do governments breach contracts? because they can and nobody will stop them. nobody.


 Urban people who want the comforts of country living keep voting for these levies.  They want all the nice quiet accesses without having to work and worry about their property being degraded.  


Does this define the definition of 'Indian giver'? A gift with strings is called 'control the puppets'!


I am split on this one. I agree that the land should be used in the way Mr. Steinen intended. However, I think of all the people who donated stained glass windows, communion rails, etc to their church with the intent that they be used for generation upon generation, only to have the church tore down or closed. Then there are all the charities that you give your money to thinking it's being used one way, only to discover that you are helping to pay a million dollar salary to the CEO. I hope Mr. Steinen gets what he intended the land to be used for, however, once a gift is given, I doubt it can be taken back unless he has everything written in stone in the contract.


"all the crap that this metro parks has does illegally and the tax payor keeps voting them more money I really don't get it."    the typical taxpayer is stupid. they vote like sheep.





"I hope Mr. Steinen gets what he intended the land to be used for, however, once a gift is given, I doubt it can be taken back unless he has everything written in stone in the contract."  erie metroparks honors contracts?  lol!!!!!!!

Jane Goodall

the park weasels speak with forked tongue... cut off their funding

Whiskey Tango F...

Reading that document makes me ill. Big brother at his finest. The man wanted a legacy and received a legal battle for his generosity. This is why america is bleeding from the inside out. God know kids need a place to go and hunt.

It's time for an attorney to step up for a little guy. Not some young mom in Florida who killed her baby so she could go party. Not for a slime politician who was caught red handed abusing campaign contributions. Not for some former football star who's glove didn't fit so he gets away with murder.......A judge that can actually make an ubiased decision would help too.

This time its for a simple family who wanted a legacy and got screwed by a system that promised one thing and delivered the opposite. A guy who fought cancer and just wanted people to love his land as much as he did. A sportsman that wanted a place for kids to learn the sports that he loved. Not a criminal organization that hides behind a name that is slowly begining to crumble.

FruGalSpender "Erie MetroParks officials has responded aggressively to a lawsuit concerning the Joseph Steinen Wildlife Area, filing a counterclaim saying that Gil Steinen, his daughter Linda Steinen and a local farmer should be "ejected" from the property." "Local resident Gilbert Steinen Jr. says the county park system broke a promise to give him a voice in the operation of the Joseph Steinen Wildlife Area."  the sheep keep voting in levies to provide unlimited money to attorneys who in turn fight the good people who have limited money. stupid sheep keep voting in levies. any sheep want to argue why they keep voting yes to levies?


don't donate any land or money to any government. ef them!


I've read the attached document and, while I understand it's only one side of the story, I'm never-the-less appalled. This sizeable donation (even though Steinen did get some money, it represented a fraction of the actual worth of the property had he elected to sell it for development) is quite literally being destroyed under the auspices of Erie MetroParks. Not only is their word not to be trusted, they're clearly mismanaging the property in ANY context if even a small portion of what the document reads is true!

MetroParks has proved, time and again, that it will lie, cheat, and effectively steal to get what it wants. Surely we all remember the fiasco and the millions of wasted taxpayer dollars on the Huron River Greenway, don't we? And the grave insutices done to THOSE property owners? It sure looks like that nightmare wasn't an exception but rather the RULE as to how Erie MetroParks "manages" its "stewardship!"

I categorically refuse to vote for MetroParks levies because of the unconstitutional land grabs and the incessant lies from Erie MetroParks connected to the Greenway project. Now, that's not enough. Now I'm going to make a very real and vocal point of trying to explain to every person I can why THEY shouldn't give MetroParks another nickel, either!

Mr. Steinen, I'm deeply sorry for the damage done not only to your property but to your dreams. MetroParks apparently agreed it was a good idea just long enough to get its grubby hands quasi-legally on your property. It's not the first time they've presented such an unsavory aspect to the public, but I sincerely hope it's the last.

I recognize that the "old guard" at MetroParks is gone, but that's not going to be good enough. What about all of the wildlife starved out of the property? What of the ecological damages done with herbicides and indiscriminate cutting? Not only should Mr. Steinen receive justice, his land should be properly restored as well. I don't oppose "green areas." In fact, I think the Steinen family had a great idea and the wherewithal to help it happen. Assuming MetroParks is found guilty (again), part of the punishment doled out should be complete restoration of the land and the implementation of the plans to which they originally agreed. As far as I'm concerned, it's the LEAST that they owe!

Until MetroParks is responsibly managed so it can responsibly manage its own affairs in turn, I submit none of us should give them ANYthing other than demands to make it right!


 Another Erie County Metroparks legal battle supported by taxpayer money.

This constant legal wrangling has got to stop.

Stop the flow of money.  Taxpayers wakeup!

Julie R.

What I don't understand about the Erie MetroParks/Huron River Greenway case ---- it probably took all of 60 minutes, if that, for the Supreme Court to look at the titles to property and rule that MetroParks stole the Huron River Greenway property owners land ---- so why did that case drag on and on for almost 15 years? Didn't Lisa Coles say when it first started they went to court with proof in hand showing they owned the property, thinking justice would prevail? Didn't she say the Erie County Common Pleas Court ignored the proof and instead allowed MetroParks Lorain County attorneys to come up with all these other unimportant issues to take away from the proof?  

Obviously, I'm not the only one that wonders about this. Didn't one of the Columbus-based attorneys for the property owners say the same thing --- didn't he say the taxpayers in Erie County should be furious? Too bad the taxpayers can't file a lawsuit.

As for Mr. Steinen --- more power to him!


"Didn't she say the Erie County Common Pleas Court ignored the proof and instead allowed MetroParks Lorain County attorneys to come up with all these other unimportant issues to take away from the proof?" the stench from the erie county court house can be smelled outside of the building and also in the building at 247 columbus avenue.


"Too bad the taxpayers can't file a lawsuit."  sheep don't file lawsuits. they follow the @sshole ahead of them and vote in tax levies.


SamAdams and Whiskey Tango-

Well stated.

This man was wronged. 


If Mr. Steinen was going to get justice, take it to another court, not Erie County. They don't know how to read the law or make an honest decision. I wonder if Metroparks will get the same law firm from the east, the one recommended by our local judges,  that walked out on them and would not answer phone calls after they got over four million dollars ($4,000,000) of Erie County taxpayers money. It is great how our judicial system and  metroparks are being run. You could hire seventh graders and they would be more effective in running those systems. I sure hope people wise up when we go to the poles to vote.  

It is better to put your refuge in the Lord than have trust in man.


should have set up a trust if he wanted control--just plain foolish

FruGalSpender  i like how this former judge thinks and talks.


@Sam Adams and Whisky Tango.....I will never vote another dime to Erie Metro Parks again....great posts.  


 More taxpayer money being spent on lawsuits.  Have we not learned our lesson?  New commissioners same results. Very sad.

The public needs to take back their park system.  Money talks.  Shut off their funding and you will get their attention.

Is there something in the water that causes the lack of sanity ?  Or is it a power trip by the new commissioners?

Isn't one of the commissioners a holdover from the last group of power freaks?  The responsibility is pointing directly at you.  


Come on all you liberals, democracks, animal and environmental rights activists, we need ANOTHER operating levy for the Metro Parks.  More money for more FAILURE!  Come on, YOU can approve another levy EXACTLY like YOU did before!  "It is for the little birds, the little squirrels and the trees.  It is for the little children."  Ha! Ha!  You should be honored all those county TAX dollars YOU approved have washed down the Huron River just to make yourselves "FEEL GOOD" about nature.  How does it FEEL now??  They need more money to fight the total FAILURE of management in court because they can NOT do ANYTHING right!  Don't forget, Jimmy Lang was in charge of  security under Metro Parks management and saw the writing on the wall with inept, liberal, stupidity, spending and moronic decision making.  He decided to abandon a sinking ship and retired out.  That was SUPPOSED to be a retirement job!!  Still feel good about Metro Parks EARNED salaries?  "Equal days PAY for an equal days WORK??"  Ha! Ha!  Here is a tip.  A few wizards of management have left Metro Parks and took our money with them.  So, WHO is left to deal with the wake of total FAILURE??  I guess in "liberalville", it is perfectly acceptable to BLAME the rich, but fellow liberal losers get a liberal FREE PASS when they take county TAX dollars.  Of course, I should have known.  I will feed the birds and squirrels on my properties WITHOUT the help of Metro Parks, their FAILURE and the spending of county TAX dollars!  ALL of you have allowed Metro Parks to morph into a giant money hole.  I guess that is perfectly normal for liberal, democrack crybabies because our county government and federal government are doing the EXACT same thing!  You GO Mr. Steinen, this is another example of liberal, bloated government doing whatever they want with impunity.  Almost sounds like the DOJ, EPA and the 0bama administration!  The ONLY way liberal democrack sheep of the county will realize the TRUTH is to FORCE people to PAY enough until it HURTS!  THEN it will be an outrage!  Ha! Ha!     

The Answer Person


Rant all you want about the levys. 

We vote for them, pass them and guess what? 


Have a nice day!

(Laughing all the way to the park!)



This is simple,put Mr. Steinen on the board as chairman.What the public would get is value for their money.Mr. Steinen has more common sense and business knowledge than all of the others put together.He has a real understanding of nature and what the youth as well as the public wants.

If the parks are not reined in what we will have is a roped off area with wanna be cops riding around in new suv's telling everyone what they cannot do.

Listen to Mr. Steinen


 The Answer Person,

You must be a government worker. Your arrogance is showing.


The unlimited government spending is coming to an end.  Enjoy what you have now.


Julie R.

The new park commissioners are putting all the blame on the 3.5 million that the Huron River Greenway case is going to cost the taxpayers now on the former park commissioners. I don't. Like attorneys that can only get away with what the courts and prosecutors let them get away with, I say the same goes for the former park commissioners. If the River Road residents went to court with deeds in hand showing they owned the property, how did the Common Pleas Court get away with ignoring the facts staring them right in the face? (not that it surprises me) What about the Probate Court Judge that ignored a petition signed by over 400 people not to re-appoint the same arrogant park commissioners? What about the fraud documents that the Supreme Court found --- isn't anybody going to be held accountable? To answer my own question --- of course not. And that doesn't surprise me in the least, either.   


 This is an absolute PR disaster for ErieMetroParks.

 They tried to bully local citizens, for years, in the Huron River Greenway and now they are picking on this old man. My guess is they tie this up in the court system in hope of out living him.  That costs money. Taxpayer money.

Government arrogance gone wild ....again!

Who is in charge?  Time to clean house again?

Time to shut off the money supply.


Bet you don't pass the next levy

Julie R.

I feel sorry for Mr. Steinen at his age having to through this now. He should have never given the liars at MetroParks his land to begin with but that's now a moot point. I hope he has good attorneys, too, like the ones the Huron River Greenway property owners had. They sure weren't afraid of anybody in Erie County. If they knew how much clout MetroParks big shot Lorain County attorneys had with the Erie County courts and prosecutor, it sure didn't faze them. Neither were they afraid to take the steps to get the visiting appointed judge Cirigliano removed from the case. Most attorneys ~ the greedy, unethical ones, anyway ~ would love a case going on as long as that case did, but those attorneys weren't. Instead the one after the Supreme Court ruling said that the taxpayers in Erie County should be furious.  

Julie R.

They say that a fraud document was involved in the MetroParks case. So who did they say prepared the fraud document ---- one of the former park commissioners? I don't believe it. A park commissioner would not have known how to prepare a fraud document ---- but the ATTORNEYS sure would!


Unbelievably sad!

Yes, there are 2 sides to every story.  With this one, there sure is lots more to it.  While Mr. Steinen calls the kettle black, he should look in the mirror.  What has he done that he wasn't suppose to do, knowing he wasn't allowed to do?  So much drama, changes in lawyers, changes in stories, too much of everything.  From what I understand, post Granville Metro Parks management has tried to get along with Mr. Steinen and meet his "demands" to no avail ~ only yet another lawsuit.  How many so far???  There are lots of people that used to look up to him and his family and their "greatness" ~ many of those people don't anymore.  In the end, Mr. Steinen signed a sale agreement that was agreed upon by himself and attorneys representing BOTH sides!  I don't see him going into such a landmark deal so blind that he didn't understand the value of what he sold.  He wanted it to stay Green ~ green is better ~ he chose "green" by selling to Metro Parks at the lower price tag.  Only developers are going to offer more which is what he did NOT want. 

Thank God he lived longer than he expected ~ bless Mr. Steinen for that.  Wondering? if I sell my property now if I can reasonably expect someone else to pay for it and maintain it, then expect to have exclusive rights to it till whenever and dictate what happens there?  As for his letter, I think he truly believes what he wrote.  Is it a true reflection of what really happened..........?  Both sides?  We will never know.  The Register will likely not look for nor print both sides of this due to litigation as well as the fact that the clearer picture isn't as pretty as one would like.  Good luck Mr. Steinen, but when is enough enough?


: (


Ritt - you obviously are oblivious to the facts in this situation.  The transfer of land was contingent on the agreement between the two parties in question.  How is it that you believe that if Metroparks agreed to abide by the agreement, that Mr Steinan has no right to force the agreement if Metroparks fails to uphold what they signed and agreed to?

You make it sound like Steinan wants to sue because he realized that the land value was higher that he thought - this is not the case here - he KNEW what it was worth - he also knew what he intended the land to be used for and how it was to be maintained.  He and his attorneys wrote it into their agreement which Metroparks signed.  This does not mean that after the signing, METROPARKS can just rip up the agreemetn and do wahtever they want.  This is what they are trying to do - and Steinan certainly has the right to revoke the agreement if it is not being upheld by the other party.  And I think Steinan also has the right to keep the money he has already received as well to cover the damages to HIS personal property which was not included in t he land deal until after his passing.

You do not clearly understand the situation here, obviously.


Point taken, respectfully.  But I am more familiar than you think and am well aware of Mr. Steinen's intent.  This is an ugly battle on both sides including Mr. Steinen's and there is more to it than the opinion that Metro Parks is "not holding up there end".  The courts will figure it out.......again. 



Since you are close to the situation and you perceive an "ugly battle" are we the taxpayers on the hook for more millions of dollars spent on legal fees?

Wouldn't  it just be less expensive for taxpayers to disband ErieMetroParks and close up shop and give Mr. Steinen"s land back ?

I believe I represent a large group of taxpayers who are fed up with these constant legal battles.

 Past practice with the Huron River Greenway shows a lack of  truth in ErieMetroParks opinion an a arrogance that boggles the mind.

So after that fiasco , do you expect us to believe anything coming from the leaders of the ErieMetroParks?