Portage County man sues Trumbull County communities for allegedly violating sunshine law
Four civil lawsuits have been settled in Trumbull County after a Portage County man sought legal action over what he said are transparency violations in public meetings.
Brian Ames of Portage County has over 20 lawsuits filed against local governments in Ohio alleging they've violated open meeting laws.
Ames' cases he filed are mostly where he lives in Portage, but he decided to dig into the meeting minutes in Trumbull County and said he found six local jurisdictions which he claims violated the sunshine law.
"Violating the executive sessions, going into a private conversation for things that you're not allowed to talk about in private," he said.
The settled lawsuits include Hubbard, Fowler, Johnston and Vienna. Kinsman and Champion cases are pending.
Ames said by suing communities for a small fine giving them an opportunity to fix the alleged violation moving forward, could save them in the long run from getting a heftier fine and feels he's watchdogging the community.
"I find these problems they're having and rather than having them go and get deeply into trouble where they're going to pay a lot of money to lawyers and stuff like that, I bring a lawsuit, we settle it for a minimum amount and then they know," he said.
Kinsman and Champion's cases will be heard in October and in January 2023.