Local man seeks millions in public records case

Lawsuit involves Huron County Airport Authority.
Scott Seitz2
Mar 4, 2014

A public records case involving the Huron County Airport Authority has moved to a new phase.

Local resident Tod Wagner filed suit against the airport and Huron County commissioners in 2010, claiming certain public records he'd requested had been destroyed or lost.

Wagner, through his attorney Bill Owens, is requesting at least $3 million, according to court documents.

In the three-plus years since the lawsuit has been filed, the court ruled the county commissioners were cleared of any wrongdoing involving public records requests and the airport.

On Friday, the case was back in Huron County Common Pleas Court.

A number of issues still have to be determined, including what the damages could ultimately be.

Since the case was filed, the law has changed limiting damages in cases such as this to $10,000.

"This case could be precedent-setting in the state of Ohio," said Carl Essex, airport board president. "The new law also states attorney fees are discretionary to the court."

Essex said the court could determine if a settlement is to paid under the former or current law.

On Friday, the court gave parties until March 28 to come up with a no more than 10 page "Proposed Finding of Fact and Conclusion of Law" regarding this public records case. Cases may be cited, but if cited must be included. The judge will not count pages of case law against the assigned maximum of 10 pages, according to Essex.

"The judge didn't want the two sides pontificating 30 pages long," Essex said. "That's why it's limited to 10 pages."

Owens will attempt to justify request for attorney fees in excess of $3 million based on a 40 percent contingent agreement with Wagner, covering a loss of more than 3,000 destroyed or "lost" public records early in 2009 to late in 2010, Essex stated.

Essex said once the judge receives the two 10-page briefs March 28, it could take another 30 days to review.

Essex added Daivia Kasper, assistant county prosecutor, will draft the 10-page brief on behalf of the airport.

Comments

Scranton Tibbs

Frivolous.

Richard Cranium

Was his wife on the airport board during the time period of the alleged "missing" records?

AnAmerican

Was wondering the same thing, and how about previous board members and/or advocates like Sokol and LeClair?

FTFOI

W.T.F. Only ones flipping this bill is the tax payer (us) We get to pay for both sides. Tod is not making any friends here.

tmann4664

Just close the playground for the rich boys and their toys, what a waste of money this airport is. They claim it helps with corporate execs to come in and utilize it for jobs and businesses in Huron county. Well, we all see how thats been working the last ten years, it helps them get out of Huron county. So tired of reading and hearing about this BS , just to satisfy a few rich guys to keep their toys at the county taxpayers expense.

AlterEgo

How about we close that playground for old people, I mean the senior services center. We should not be giving anything to people who pay no taxes and live in houses that were paid off 30 years ago. Sounds just as stupid and uninformed as your argument,

methodman

Probably a lot more seniors than fly boys. Most those seniors worked and paid taxes their whole lives. Even if their houses are paid off they still pay property taxes. I don't give two shitz what they do with that airport. Its like a damn bunch of little kids bickering.

JMOP

I hear ya on that one Methodman.

shovelhead

Who lost the records and why? If I lose all of the documents I'm responsible for, then I get fired. The people should be able to keep their gov't in line by checking any public records. I believe this is the problem. I doubt any actual cash will be awarded here, just someone getting the run-around & pissed off about the lack of responsibility shown by our "leaders".

JudgeMeNot

My guess is airplane fuel bought by the tax-payer is missing from the tanks.

Windy

Maybe Essex has been putting the fuel in the county's vehicles?

youvegotobekiddingme

Looks like this could be Bill's "retirement" case if he wins.

VerbalKint

Just when you think you couldn't possibly think any less of this self-serving group they serve up another whammy!

Burn it, board it up, sell it, whatever....just get rid of it and its minions already.

tmann4664

Really Alter, typical selfish comment from you, and this one pertains to seniors who worked and payed their taxes. You must have a plane out there Huh? This place is a waste of tax payers money,tell me one good thing this airport does for the 99% of taxpayers ! Just one... Or better yet Alter, how about you write a article about how this airport has been a benefit to the taxpayers for the last 10 years. That should make for some funny reading, i could use a laugh today.

kURTje

The airport keeps losing altitude.

Really are you ...

Wow! 3 million dollar paperwork. A request for paperwork even. Wow! Give the man 25 cents per sheet requested. Say you are sorry it will never happen again. That seems to be working nowadays.

rogerthat

Another 3 million reasons to sell the airport.

journey rules

Is this the fat Sheriff's deputy ?

tmann4664

Alter !! Still waiting for all your good reasons to keep the airport open.. Please tell how this benefits the 99% of taxpayers.. I await your response.Can't wait to read it..

TDoug

I used to believe that the airport had little to no value, however over the last year, talking to folks in the community, apparently the farmers do use it quite a bit for agricultural uses, so while it may seem to have little value to most of us in town, it does provide value to Huron County

former local

Wow! After reading comments in here I would NEVER locate a business in a place with so many unhappy people.

angrybird

don't let a few bad apples ruin it former local!!

propman

I have little information on the case but do know that the county's legal consul was supposed to have instructed the various entities of the county government what their legal responsibilities are and had not done so for the airport board at that time.
As a county entity the county's insurance will have to cover it.
Meanwhile Essex has been withholding other documents that have been requested, wonder how someone who considers himself intelligent seems so unable to learn from previous mistakes.
And I have to add that it strikes me a bit odd that in the article Essex is almost like a cheerleader shaking his pom poms in delight. And when Wagner won the case Essex was extremely congratulatory to Wagner's attorney at the time.