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Published: Saturday, 9/17/2011 - Updated: 2 years ago

Holland defendant in lawsuit jailed for indifference

Judge says he ignored orders

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Businessman Mark Wittenmyer must serve 14 days or post a bond of $500,000, Common Pleas Judge Ruth Ann Franks has directed. Businessman Mark Wittenmyer must serve 14 days or post a bond of $500,000, Common Pleas Judge Ruth Ann Franks has directed.
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A local businessman is being held in the Lucas County jail for failing to follow court orders in a civil lawsuit.

Mark Wittenmyer of Holland was arrested by Lucas County sheriff's detectives Friday and taken into custody. He has been ordered to serve 14 days in jail, but he could be released if he posts a $500,000 bond.

An executive who has worked at several technology-based companies, Mr. Wittenmyer, 50, was jailed for disregarding court orders during a 2010 civil case in which he was being sued for failing to repay a loan of more than $3 million, court records show.

Mr. Wittenmyer's attorney, Philip Dombey, did not return calls for comment Friday.

According to Lucas County Common Pleas Court records, Mr. Wittenmyer was named as a defendant in a 2010 civil complaint, in which he was sued for $3.8 million in unpaid loans.

The complaint was filed on the behalf of Findlay resident Michael Peak.

It claimed Mr. Wittenmyer had borrowed substantial amounts of money from Mr. Peak on multiple occasions with the promise of paying back the notes within a certain time frame.

None of the money had been repaid, the lawsuit claimed.

Court records indicate that while the case was pending before Judge Ruth Ann Franks, Mr. Wittenmyer failed to appear for a court-ordered deposition and failed to appear for a court hearing to determine whether he should be held in contempt.

As a result, Judge Franks ordered that Mr. Wittenmyer pay the attorney fees and court costs associated with his "willful failure to appear at his properly noticed deposition."

On Oct. 19, Judge Franks decided the case in favor of Mr. Peak, noting that the court "has never had a party act in a manner as Mr. Wittenmyer does. He has repeatedly ignored appropriate pleadings filed by the plaintiff and the orders of this court."

As part of that order, Judge Franks ordered that Mr. Wittenmyer be held in the Lucas County jail for 14 days "because of his contempt for the orders of this court of which he had proper notice."

Attorney Rick Kerger, who represents Mr. Peak, said the result had been long in coming. "I'm glad that we may have taken some steps toward getting the money back to the client that he invested," he said.



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