REGISTER VIEWPOINT: A question of trust

Maybe the lawsuit against Marina District developer John Eymann, in which some erstwhile partners of his allege fraud, including mon
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

Maybe the lawsuit against Marina District developer John Eymann, in which some erstwhile partners of his allege fraud, including money supposedly siphoned away to benefit the Sandusky waterfront project, is in fact a small-potatoes, nuisance lawsuit.

After all, anyone can sue anyone else over anything. A claim in a lawsuit is just that, a claim.

Sometimes the claims are -- well, to use the polite legal term, "without merit."

That's not the problem.

The problem is, who from the city knew about this lawsuit when it was filed? Judging from the reaction to the story in this newspaper, not many -- and certainly not the right people.

Granted, you're under no real obligation to tell anyone you're being sued.

Still and all, it's an article of good faith to tell someone who is about to commit a good deal of trust and treasure to your business promises that this is a potential liability.

Had Eymann, and in its turn City Hall, done that from the outset, the lawsuit might have been such a surprise.

As it is, failure to learn of the lawsuit, and failure to say anything when the news was known, only adds to the mistrust people have of the city government -- and, unfortunately, of a project this editorial board continues to support.

How much simpler might it have been to say, "Look, we've learned this about the lawsuit (or any other item of business that comes before the city). This much, we know. This much, we can tell you."

Were City Hall more free with what it knows and can say, it might be surprised at how willing people would be to trust it with what it can't say.

But as we're getting tired of saying, the impulse to secrecy on City Hall's part only feeds the impulse to mistrust on the people's part.

That's nothing of which to be proud.