Geauga County Republicans Violating the Open Meetings Act…updated 2/9/21

Updated: 2/9/21 3:35 pm
Mr. Brian Ames, community activist extraordinaire, has filed a lawsuit in the Geauga County Court of Common Pleas….cue the law and order music….

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Here is Nancy McArthur…sans face mask…Who is she?

Nancy McArthur, Chairman of Central and Executive Committee

“On June 6, 2014, the Central Committee elected a new GCRP Party Chairman and their first female Chairman, Nancy McArthur. Mrs. McArthur was re-elected by the Geauga County Central Committee in 2016 and again in 2018.”

Updated 2/10/21 4:37 am

Explanation of lawsuit by Brian Ames:

The lawsuit I have filed against the Geauga County Republican Central and Executive Committees and Nancy B. McArthur in her Official Capacity as Chairman, Geauga Common Pleas case no. 21M000093, is a result of being denied access to the meeting conducted at 10:00am on February 6, 2021 in the Event Center at the Heritage Marketplace located at 5848 Nauvoo Rd, Middlefield, OH 44062. 

The meeting was held to select a qualified elector to be recommended to the Ohio Secretary of State to fill a vacancy in the Geauga County Board of Elections that will occur on March 1, 2021 when the term of two of the current members, one from each major party, expires. The procedure is prescribed by the General Assembly in the enactment of O.R.C. 3501.07.

The question I seek to resolve is whether central and executive committees, that were created by the General Assembly by the enactment of O.R.C. 3517.03, are public bodies subject to the provisions of O.R.C. 121.22, the Open Meetings Act, or are they private “clubs” that are political parties. The answer is necessarily the former for the following reasons:

  1. The central and executive committees are creatures of the General Assembly by O.R.C. 3517.03. They were not created by the political parties.
  2. The General Assembly created the  central and executive committees to provide a controlled means for the political parties to participate in elections to ensure fairness in their conduct.
  3. The central and executive committees were created to serve the public policy of free and fair elections. Such a policy is not necessarily consistent with the policies of political parties.
  4. The members of the central committees are elected by law at primary elections. It is for the furtherance of the public policy that these elections are justifiable at public expense.
  5. Any statute enacted by the General Assembly that granted the central and executive committees control over the affairs of a political party would be an unconstitutional infringement of the political party’s rights.

To be certain, most, if not all, county central committees have convinced the members of their parties in their respective counties that the central committee is the party. For example, the voter registration data file posted on the Secretary of States website on February 6, 2021 lists 25,811 voters associated with the Republican Party in Geauga County. The list of the names and addresses of the members of the Republican Central Committee contains a mere 70 entries, only .271% of Geauga County Republicans. The county central committees have usurped the authority of the party members by falsely representing themselves as the party itself.

In the case of the subject meeting, one can be certain that the respondents (defendants) in the case will claim that the meeting was a private meeting of the Geauga County Republican Party to which only members would be admitted. This is controverted by the fact that at least three members of the Republican Party in Geauga County were denied entrance into the meeting.

The purpose of my lawsuit is to establish as a legal precedent that the provisions of the Open Meetings Act apply to the meetings of all central and executive committees in Ohio. Furthermore, that a party waives privacy for any party business it allows to be conducted in committee meetings.

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Categories: Geauga, Local News, Ohio Counties, Uncategorized

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