Monday, May 21, 2018
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Schaffer accepts contempt finding

Local radio personality Denny Schaffer has dropped his appeal to overturn a contempt of court order placed on him for failing to provide information in a slander lawsuit filed by a Blade reporter.

Mr. Schaffer voluntarily withdrew the appeal he filed in November with the Ohio 6th District Court of Appeals in Toledo challenging an order from Lucas County Common Plea Judge William Skow that found him in contempt.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court was scheduled to hear oral arguments yesterday on Mr. Schaffer's appeal. The hearing was canceled.

The contempt order stems from a civil lawsuit filed in 2000 by Blade reporter Sandra Svoboda against Mr. Schaffer and Clear Channel Communications for comments he made at various times in October, 1999, while he was a member of the former Breakfast Club show on WVKS-FM, a Clear Channel Station.

The comments included false statements about a purported sexual relationship between Ms. Svoboda and John Robinson Block, who is publisher and editor-in-chief of The Blade. The suit seeks damages in excess of $25,000 from Clear Channel and Mr. Schaffer, who now hosts an afternoon talk show on WSPD-AM, also a Clear Channel station.

Judge Skow found Mr. Schaffer in contempt on Sept. 23 for failing to disclose the identity of a newspaper employee who, he said in a deposition, had provided him with information about comments he made on the air about Mr. Block.

In an Oct. 30 hearing, Mr. Schaffer first repeated a claim he made in a written response that he could not recall the name of the employee. He later acknowledged that he knew the name, but asked the judge if he could divulge it in chambers. The judge ordered Mr. Schaffer to provide the name in open court.

Mr. Schaffer finally complied with Judge Skow's order and identified the name of the source and a friend who gave him the source. Judge Skow determined Mr. Schaffer was in contempt for failing to comply with his original instruction to provide the name. He imposed a $5,954 fine against Mr. Schaffer that would go toward Ms. Svoboda's legal fees.

Donna Kiroff, administrator of the state appeals court, said Mr. Schaffer's request to drop the appeal, which was filed Wednesday, is pending. She said the appeals court likely would grant the dismissal.

Ms. Svoboda declined comment and referred inquiries to her attorney, Fred Gittes. Mr. Gettes said he recently learned of Mr. Schaffer's motion to withdraw the appeal but declined comment.

Mr. Schaffer did not return messages left at WSPD for comment.

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