Nuesse's legal team makes its case against City of Sandusky

SANDUSKY Team Nuesse finally got to play offense. K. Ronald Bailey, fired Sandusky po
jasonsinger
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

Team Nuesse finally got to play offense.

K. Ronald Bailey, fired Sandusky police Chief Kim Nuesse's lawyer, wasted no time in attacking the city in his opening arguments Tuesday.

For complete coverage of the Nuesse saga, click HERE.

"There's an old saying that goes like this, 'Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you,''" he said. "While the answer to the question of why (Nuesse) was set up may never be fully answered, the evidence is clear that she was."

Bailey then rebutted each of the city's four charges listed as grounds for Nuesse's firing.

Earlier in the hearing, the city said Nuesse lied about spending $28,000 of grant money on wireless technology. But Bailey reiterated federal documents, already presented as evidence, said otherwise.

He also addressed the allegations Nuesse said the city's dispatch system was collapsing. Earlier in the hearing, commissioners Craig Stahl, Brett Fuqua, Dennis Murray Jr. and Brian Crandall all testified to that for the city.

On Tuesday, however, commissioner Dan Kaman said that wasn't true.

As Kaman recalled, Nuesse said the system had reached its life expectancy and should be replaced, but she didn't convey the city was in immediate danger, which is how the aforementioned commissioners "played it."

Fellow commissioner Dave Waddington is expected to give similar testimony Jan. 19.

The city's third allegation was Nuesse couldn't cooperate with Erie County Sheriff Terry Lyons and Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter.

"(But) you heard the sheriff state that Chief Nuesse never did anything that affected his operations adversely," Bailey said. "He also testified and is quoted in the Murman report as stating there was never any communication problems between him and Chief Nuesse."

As for Baxter, Bailey said he had a personal agenda. He said Baxter was upset Nuesse worked with the U.S. Marshals to make arrests in Erie County, and no one informed Baxter of their plans.

Earlier in the trial, Baxter also expressed disappointment Nuesse pulled Sandusky off the Erie County Drug Task Force.

But Bailey pointed out Nuesse held out longer than any other police chief: Sandusky was the last department to have an officer on the task force.

"So what do we have left? A parking ticket. Are you kidding me?" Bailey asked, in reference to the final allegation.

"The city of Sandusky wants you (Judge Joseph Cirigliano) to put your seal of approval on the ruining of someone's professional career because of a parking ticket."

Bailey said city manager Mike Will, city law director Don Icsman and municipal court Judge Erich O'Brien all approved the voiding of the ticket.

In his testimony on Tuesday, Will said he didn't think the ticket was a big deal.

"It was something I was a little embarrassed with at the time," Will said. "She was coming (to) a new community and we had a lot to work on at that time, (and we were fussing about) if she was a few inches away from the curb."

In her cross examination, Sue Porter, the city's lawyer, pointed out that Nuesse was several feet from the curb, not inches.

Bailey's other two witnesses, Kaman and former interim city manager Don Miears, both harshly criticized the Murman report. Miers called the report "a piece of garbage."

Kaman said he contacted Murman to be interviewed, but Murman -- for the most part -- wasn't interested in interviewing supporters of Nuesse. Murman never got back to Kaman, and Kaman ultimately wasn't in the report. Kaman said other supporters had similar problems.

"I think it was a predetermined outcome. It was one-sided," Kaman said of the report.

"The biggest thing is since it was so one-sided, it was a waste of the taxpayers' money."

Kaman, who initially endorsed two other candidates ahead of Nuesse for the chief position, praised her work during her tenure.

"As a commissioner, I think she did a fantastic job," he said.