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Perry Twp. sued by resident about alleged public records violation

Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2019 @ 1:11 PM


            Perry Twp. officials are being sued about an alleged public records violation. STAFF
Perry Twp. officials are being sued about an alleged public records violation. STAFF

A Perry Twp. resident has filed suit against township officials she said did not respond to a public records request made in early March.

Bonnie Bertelson, represented by the Finney Law Firm in Cincinnati, has asked the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court for a writ of mandamus to compel the township to deliver the records relating to the mass resignation of several police officers last year, communications among trustees, the records retention policy and the hiring of police Chief Timothy Littleton.

“After months of abuse and deceit, I felt I had no choice but to hire an attorney to assist me in obtaining records necessary to understand how the decision was made to hire the new chief and what went on behind the scenes in the wake of the mass resignations of the police officers,” Bertelson said in a statement to the Dayton Daily News.

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“I’m dismayed that the trustees chose to completely ignore the public records requests, but I am hopeful that this litigation will lead to the production of the records. No one should have to be subjected to attacks by elected officials simply for asking questions.”

Littleton faced firing from the Enon Police department for lying to a superior officer in 2016 before he resigned.

“We submitted the requests in early March,” attorney Brian Shrive told the Dayton Daily News. “It has been six weeks since the fiscal officer signed for the delivery. To date, we have not heard a peep from the township in response.”

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Shrive added he hopes township officials “give us the records to show what happened here.”

The lawsuit names as defendants the township, trustees Dale Seim, Ron Price and Melissa Mears, and fiscal officer Rhonda Behnken.

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“I know for a fact that somebody made a request, and it’s something that’s in the hands of the (Montgomery County) Prosecutor,” Price said. “If they want to file suit, I don’t care, it doesn’t make any difference. I know that we have fulfilled every obligation that we know how to fulfill.”

Price said he didn’t know if anyone from the township attempted to respond to the Finney Law Firm, which made the request on behalf of Bertelson.

Prosecutor’s office spokesman Greg Flannagan said “it is our understanding that Perry Twp. has been working on compiling the documents” and that “we have advised” Bertelson’s attorney.

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Trustees president Seim has said he supports Littleton, who said he would have been fired from the Enon Police Dept. in 2016 had he not resigned.

Seim said the chief has done a fantastic job since he was hired in an interim basis and after he got the full-time job.