Trustees' attorney ignores state law

Matt Westerhold
Mar 23, 2010

 

Perkins Township attorney John Coppeler has some guts when it comes to ignoring his legal responsibilities.

"If your experts claim that because it's voted on in a public meeting that it's public record, there ought to be some authority that they are relying on," Coppeler said.

That would be the Ohio Revised Code, Mr. Coppeler. The Ohio Revised Code.

Coppeler's explanation for withholding documents related to the proposed settlement in the McClung-Matthews lawsuit against Perkins Township trustee Bill Dwelle and the township is simply ridiculous.

And irresponsible.

Comments

Anonymous

Matt, Ifrequently do not agree with you butoften you are right on the money.
John Coppller is an attorney who does very little but charges big dollars.

Anonymous

Matt,

You don't report the news or look to inform your readers. You only try to stir up controversy when and where ever you can. The register would be a better paper without you.

Anonymous

Matt,

Do you know who the Perkins Trustee's lawyer really is by statute? It's Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter and his team of asssistants.

I'll bet if you made a public records request you will find that Mr. Coppeler was never lawfully retained by Resolution by the Trustees.

Would be very interesting to learn how much the people of Perkins Township have paid out to Mr. Coppeller for no good reason when Mr. Baxter's office is supposed to represent the Trustee's as part of the statutory duties of the County prosecutor's office.

Yet again, as in Sandusky, we see the lawyers charged with safeguarding public funds turning a blind eye to the unnecessary expenditure of public funds on private attorneys to perform a government function.

Anonymous

It's rather obvious that Nick is nothing more than a child in journalism. The main reason for this is Matt probably needed a playmate at the register. Matt probably pays Nick in tokens for Goofy Golf's Arcade instead of paying him with real money for trying to do a real job. Those of you that ask where he is at should remember as Nick is aquiring his insight to journalism, rest assured that Matt probably has Nick cleaning the toilets at the Register to justify his play thing. Something to ponder for sure!! "

Anonymous

Go to McClung's attorney. If he is on legal ground, he should have no problem releasing it.

Anonymous

Didn't the article in the SR 4/29 state that two Trustees voted against the settlement, whatever it may have been, thus there hasn't been one as of yet? Why release info. regarding something that was voted down, not yet SETTLED? We need to keep in mind that the TOWNSHIP is a part of the lawsuit, right along w/the Dwelles'. Just how much was the Chief asking for? Musta been a bundle, seeing how it was commented "He'd never have to work another day in his life"! Even if the Chief were to be bought out of a 3-yr. contract, that isn't enough money for him to NEVER have to work again! I would hope that once a settlement is reached, if ever, that info. WOULD/SHOULD be provided to the taxpaying public?! Wouldn't expect any less, especially since the TOWNSHIP (THAT BEING US) TAX DOLLARS will be used as PAY-OFF! Sounds like Extortion to me; def.: to obtain money from a person/entity (twnshp.) by threat, oppression, or abuse of authority!

Anonymous

Am I reading correctly? Are you, in all your short-sighted stupidity and self-righteous indignation, accusing SOMEONE ELSE of violating the ORC? Usually I prefer to heckle you or give you a stern lecture, Matt, but this time, you've gone too far. How do you dare to put something like this into print and afix your name to it? Who was it, Matt, that not too long ago published the names and counties of residence of all CHL holders in the area, not only violating a specific Ohio Code AGAINST newspapers publishing it, but violating the privacy of mostly law-abiding citizens and the sacred trust, built into our nation's laws, that comes with it? While you're at it, why don't you look into Don Icsman's dockets? You know, the CITY'S Law Director who for some reason outsources ALL the City's legal affairs to Cleveland while collecting a paycheck from the public? This is outrageous: racism might be bad, but YOU are the most devastating, cancerous growth on this community - a liar, a sensationalist, a hypocrite. You came out of the east from Elyria; it's time you pack up and head west again. You've outstayed your welcome here, too.

Anonymous

Honey, stick to your mantra. YOU are the one who is always spewing anti-baxter garbage. Maybe the trusteess agree with you (wouldn't that be a hoot) when you talk about his incompetence. If in fact he is incompetent, why rely on him for legal advice? Where is your head? No need to answer -- everyone already knows!

Anonymous

Why don't you just go ask McClung yourself? I'm sure you have him in your speed dial. Everyone knows you guys are tight. OHHHH, and to "tt"....couldn't have said it better myself.

Anonymous

Matt - do you even know if there is a document detailing the settlement? Many times there is an oral agreement, not reduced to writing until details are worked out and voted on - thus nothing to release.

Anonymous

did you become an expert on the law, Matt? you should stick to what you do best...wait a minute...no one seems to know what that is!

Anonymous

Yup- first person has it right. Attny. is overpaid and underworked- what a surprise! An Observer

Anonymous

Matt,

If Perkins is violating the public records law, then freaking sue them over it (mandamus action). You can file it in the Sixth District or even the Supreme Court of Ohio if you think you'll get the runaround in Erie County.

This is how real papers get things done. They just don't whine about; they make things happen.

Anonymous

@ Put ...

Bravo.

The SR could have and should have filed a similar action in the Nuesse matter. Moreover the newspaper should be filing for violations of the Open Meetings Act (Murman Contracts) as well. The have the best First Amendment lawyer in the state (David Marburger) through the Ohio Newspaper Association.

Anonymous

Somebody took your SOURCE away and won't let him talk to you anymore. Who was your SOURCE in the first place? The Trustees' all wouldn't comment, but your SOURCE did. Was your SOURCE alos in the Courtroom? That would make it....

Anonymous

Matt is it hard to type when you have McClung's dinger in your mouth?

Anonymous

Matt,
Check the ORC about "executive sessions" and then get a clue as to what is public record in executive sessions.JEEZ!!

Anonymous

Not to sound like a know-it-all, but I told you how Westerhold was going to influence this story.

Step 1 - Use his source (McClung) to impress everyone with how much (he thinks) he knows. (The judge should jail Westerhold until he reveals his source (McClung) for violating the judge’s orders). Think McClung will back Westerhold when Sheriff Lyons has him behind bars? Doubt it.

Step 2 -Try to sway public opinion with rhetoric and power over the press. Westerhold’s love letter to McClung in the form of a blog should be enough evidence of this. If that's not enough, lets put pressure on the township for violating Ohio Law, of which Westerhold has shown so much respect for (ccw).

Step 3 -See if source (McClung) will, after all those years in high school, where he treated Westerhold like the loser he is, finally influence McClung to treat the him with some respect. Again, doubt it.

Step 4 – Doug Phares finally gets a clue that Westerhold has an agenda and rids him of his position. And once again, I doubt it.

Phares apparently doesn’t have the guts, or power, to do it.

This type of journalism will only get the Register so far. Sure, awards will come at first as they attract hits on this site. After that, people will turn to legitimate news sources for their information as people eventually refuse to talk to the Register for anything for fear it will be turned into fodder for the blogs.

Look at your history books! Yellow journalism earns no respect. Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it.

Anonymous

Matt is an expert on Ohio law; am totally amazed that one man can be such an expert in so many areas

Anonymous

The defination for expert is as follows:
X is an unknown factor
spurt is a drip under pressure.

Yes that is Matt for sure!!

Anonymous

The definition for expert is as follows:
X is an unknown factor
spurt is a drip under pressure.

d a m n spell checker.. my bad

Anonymous

It's called the Freedom of Information Law and People's Right to Know. These laws pertain to the public's right to know what their government is up to. This applies to proposals and nearly anything else elected officials are up to.

Anonymous

(B) Executive sessions. The commission may hold an executive session at a regular or special meeting for the following purposes:

(1) To confer with an attorney for the commission concerning disputes involving the commission which are the subject of pending or imminent litigation. Litigation will be considered imminent at the point at which litigation is actually contemplated.

(2) To consider information required to be kept confidential by federal or state law.

(3) To consider the appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion or compensation of a commission employee or official. Such session may be held to investigate charges or complaints against a commission employee or official provided, however, that such commission employee or official may request a public hearing. Furthermore, any final disposition of such matter shall be made in open meeting.

(4) To consider specialized details of security arrangements where disclosure of the matters discussed might reveal information that could be used for the purpose of committing or avoiding prosecution for a violation of the law.

Anonymous

When trustees accept a settlement, it will be public information. The mayor of Detroit is finding that out the hard way. He thought he could hide the details of his lawsuit. He was sued by two policemen.

Anonymous

Do you know that most reporters at the SR make about $11-$13 per hour. Non union of course. The truck delivery guy makes $8 per hour. And you have the gall to ask for professional journalism ?

Taxpayer

Any expediture of tax dollars for a civil suit agreement should be made public. There are ways to conceal matters of scrutiny in a agreed upon settlement. In this situation, the public demand to fathom their government decision of spending tax collected money is very loud and clear.

Anonymous

advice is coming from Elsebitch so you can't expect much!!

Anonymous

@ matts legal on 5-1-08 at 11:23PM

The Sandusky Register has counsel. In the past, I think David Marburger of Baker Hostetler et al in Cleveland advised Matt and the SR on the CCW issue. He is usally quoted in articles addressing open government and First Amendment topics.

BTW, My name is Elsebeth not Elsebitch. Waht's your name?

Anonymous

Guess McClung's still working huh? Soooooo, how good was your "source"?