Ohio Councilman Jailed for Facebook Post

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A reported case of corruption in Ohio from the son of a councilman in the small Village of Bellaire, Ohio. He says his father has been jailed over a facebook post by a Ohio Judge.

This is Quote from their GoFundMe page:

 

November, 2015 my father, Dan Brown, ran for office in a little town in Ohio called Bellaire.
He had missed the deadline to put his name on the ballot, so he ran as a write in candidate.

He won that election.

He was certified by the election board that he won the election and the people who wrote his name in were very happy to have a voice in the council chambers in Bellaire, Ohio.

But this is not where the story begins or ends and I am going to tell you a twisted tale of control, contempt and malice towards my father as well as the voters and people of Facebook in general. This story begins in 2010.

He owned an abandoned building in Bellaire, Ohio. An old school. That school had been a flash point in the past for zoning. A Mayor decided that he was in violation of the local zoning ordinances (well before 2010) and that he would use his position to enforce the rule of law upon him. He instructed the local law enforcement to “pick him up”, which they refused. They served him with a summons to appear and neglected to “pick him up” on a zoning violation. A few letters from his lawyer and a hearing later and it was all resolved in his favor. But that action set the tone for the years to come.

Over the next few years there would be a standard line of inspectors, state and local officials and/or anyone who would listen to their cause to ‘come at him’ for anything. The standard operations were this; approach, yell, inform, leave, not provide any paperwork to confirm or deny that happened.

This standard operations was in force and happened many, many times over the years. So, he started documenting items and when he approached the authority for confirmation paperwork he found they did not even generate internal paperwork (sunshine law violations).

Let me flash forward to an event in 2013 that the council has made a problem to this day. He bought a house in Bellaire, Ohio. He had owned residential structures before, but this one was exclusive to his living needs. No mixed use, no alternate use, just a plain old house in Bellaire, Ohio. Immediately the controversy started with his house. He was accused of “purchasing a house that was not for sale”, which is jibberish. He was accused of buying a house that was condemned and needed to be torn down immediately. He asked for the paperwork on this, and none was provided. The same week he started getting his house ready for occupation he was surrounded by law enforcement, code enforcement and even the property owner (vacant lot) next to his who happened to be a sitting council person. A whole pile of people yelling at him telling him that he was a horrible person for daring to purchase this property. All of this activity and not one shred of proof that his house was on any condemnation list or that it was in any way in unlivable condition. In fact, it was quite livable but due to the previous owner, it was in very poor shape! He vowed to improve his house and the connecting property and he started doing just that.

In 2013 he ran for Mayor of Bellaire, Ohio and there was no mention of his residency. He continued to improve his property and even installed a small barn on the lot across the road. he lost his bid for Mayor, but he sealed his fate. The Mayor of Bellaire, Ohio was now willing to do anything to make sure he never won a local office in this village!

In 2015 he ran for a council seat. He missed the deadline to run for office (on the ballot) so he ran for a write in candidate. Never before in the history of Bellaire, Ohio had someone won a write in candidacy. Dad won that election even with some local dramatics, some cheating by a rogue person claiming to be running for office who was not on the ballot, and other antics going on. A recount was done, and dad was the victor.

A few weeks later there was a rumor of a petition going around challenging his residency with the court. The people doing the petition were found to be intimidating people to sign, and a few of the signers asked to have their names withdrawn from that tainted piece of paper.

They missed the deadline, and that was thrown out. That brings us to the current action against him.
In January 2016 the council brought forth a motion to remove him from office. That motion was based upon their interpretation of a law (ORC 731.44). To date he cannot find anyone else that has the same interpretation of the law (besides their law director who made the suggestion to them).
Of course the irony of this is that the person who made the motion was not even an official council person at the time. The village did not bother to file the mandated paperwork for his appointed seat.

Either way, that brings us to today. The costs of litigation are staggering. He had plans in the works to do community cleanups, as well as improvements and work on his own personal projects in spring 2016 (one of which is the long awaited batting cage as well as a museum for Bellaire, Ohio). Unfortunately, if he wants to pay for a lawyer to defend himself, he would have to defund all these projects to do it. But this needs to be a legal matter based upon the rule of law, not the interpretation of law by a non-legal entity. Besides that, I feel council should not have the right to silence voters from their own personal ruling, which is exactly what had happened. So I am asking for help on the funding of this campaign to honor those voters of Bellaire, Ohio and to bring forth the rule of law and bring this case to a neutral court that can make a legal decision.

This is still not the entire story. There is plenty that was left out of this 6+ year fight against local political corruption. But if I can get some funding for my fathers legal fight against injustice I’m sure I can get him to give more details for those interested.

 

You can find their GofundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/gau948yc

and his facebook profile at https://www.facebook.com/electdanbrown

Nathan Nicholson

I am 23 year old activist from West Virginia.

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