The Ohio Fifth District Court of Appeals affirmed the Court of Claims judgment that the notes compiled by an attorney hired by the Liberty Township trustees to conduct an investigation of the township’s former fire chief are public documents.
Liberty Township residents Jim Hurt and Mark Gerber made public document requests for attorney Donald Duckett’s notes starting in May 2016. Their requests were repeatedly denied by township officials based on the trustees’ claim that the township was never in possession of the notes.
“We’ll continue to demand the notes from the township,” Hurt told The Gazette Monday morning after learning of the decision. “We’re discussioning it with our attorney of what’s next. We’ll see what happens next.”
Duckett, the Cincinnati attorney hired by township trustees, used the notes from his investigation to compile a final report leading to former Fire Chief Tim Jensen being declared “not fit to remain in command of the fire department.”
Liberty Township’s attorney, Stephanie Schoolcraft, on June 5 asked the higher court to overturn the lower court’s ruling of the notes being public documents.
Jensen was never found guilty of any wrongdoing and accepted a position as fire prevention officer with the township as part of a settlement in 2016.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.