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Published: Saturday, 2/13/2010

Stainbrook tries again


Embattled Lucas County GOP chief Jon Stainbrook yesterday asked a Lucas County Common Pleas judge to reconsider his denial of a preliminary injunction to halt the party's leadership squabble.

The request contends Judge Charles Doneghy erred in saying Mr. Stainbrook and his rival, Toledo lawyer Jeff Simpson, were equally out of compliance with state law controlling how parties elect chairmen.

Mr. Stainbrook is fighting an effort by Mr. Simpson and Ohio Republican Party Treasurer Paul Hoag of Springfield Township to remove him from office. They claim they were elected party chairman and central committee chairman at a disputed meeting of the party's central committee Dec. 21, a claim Mr. Stainbrook has labeled "a sham."

Following state law, the Lucas County Board of Elections voted Jan. 12 to forward both sets of party officers to the Ohio Republican Party central committee to make a determination.

Judge Doneghy on Thursday denied Mr. Stainbrook's request for an injunction to stop the dispute from going before the state party. He based his ruling on his finding that neither Mr. Stainbrook nor Mr. Simpson was elected within the 15-day window allowed.

"When both competing groups are out of conformity with the requirements of [state law], the [Republican Party] state central committee is the proper body to resolve leadership questions of the Lucas County Republican Party and its committees," Judge Doneghy ruled.

But Mr. Stainbrook's lawyer, Tony DeGidio, submitted documents yesterday showing that the 2008 organization meeting was delayed in response to a stay issued by the Sixth District Court of Appeals for Lucas County.

Mr. DeGidio said that leaves Mr. Stainbrook as the only legitimate claimant.

"Based upon the Court's order, there is only one properly organized group. When there is only one organized group, there is no dispute for the [Board of Elections] to certify to the [Republican state central committee]," Mr. DeGidio wrote in the request.

Kent Murphree, a lawyer for Mr. Simpson and Mr. Hoag, said yesterday he will argue against the motion to reconsider at a hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

"We're going to obviously oppose the motion to reconsider. All of these issues belong in Columbus," Mr. Murphree said. "We're going to defend the result that Judge Doneghy reached because we think it was a correct result."

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