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Published: Thursday, 5/21/2009

2 city unions sued for defamation by UT professors who forecast financial crisis


Two University of Toledo professors whose income tax revenue forecast for the City of Toledo was used to project the city s current financial crisis have sued the firefighters and police unions, claiming defamation.

Oleg Smirnov and David Black filed the complaint in Lucas County Common Pleas Court Thursday against the Toledo Firefighters Union Local 92 and its president Jim Martin as well as the Toledo Police Patrolman s Association and its president Dan Wagner. Attached to the complaint was a request for a temporary restraining order and injunctive relief against the unions and the men to prohibit them from allegedly defaming the two men through "interviews with the media, billboards, and newsletters published on the Internet."

A Friday hearing has been scheduled before Judge Frederick McDonald, who will hear the case on behalf of Judge James Jensen to whom the case was assigned.

According to the lawsuit, city officials contracted with the university in the second quarter of 2008 to forecast the city s income tax revenue. Mr. Smirnov and Mr. Black, who were chosen by the university to provide the forecast, created a model that they used to predict future income tax revenues and subsequently presented the city with reports, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit accused the union leaders of making false statements indicating that the two men lost the data used to project a deficit. The defendants were also accused of making false statements to the media including that the two professors "deleted their research," "low-balled revenue estimates for 2009," and "testified that [Dr. Smirnov s] forecast may have been off by $10 million to $20 million."

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