CANTON: A fourth lawsuit has been filed in the yearlong tussle over the tenure of Stark County Sheriff George T. Maier.
In a complaint filed Tuesday in Stark County Common Pleas Court, Maier’s predecessor, Timothy A. Swanson, seeks to have Maier pay him the value of salary and benefits the sheriff received between Feb. 5, 2013, and Nov. 6, 2013.
The total sought is $88,511.75, plus interest.
The time frame begins when the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee appointed Maier as sheriff. It ends when the Ohio Supreme Court removed him from office for not meeting the qualifications in state law for “recent service” in law enforcement.
At that time, the court reinstated Swanson as sheriff. He held the office until Democrats reappointed Maier on Dec. 11.
The state high court dismissed another suit Swanson filed seeking to prevent Democrats from appointing Maier the second time.
The former sheriff alleges in his new complaint that the wages and benefits paid to Maier were “unlawfully withheld from Swanson, the rightful claimant thereto” because he was the “rightful sheriff.”
It echoes the tone of a suit Bethlehem Township resident Thomas Marcelli filed in December that seeks to have Maier repay the county the value of his compensation.
Marcelli is also seeking to have Maier repay the county for the cost of his bond, organization memberships, dinner meetings, attorney fees and for the cost of putting his name on various types of county property, such as buildings, vehicles and stationery.
Marcelli is seeking repayment of $123,583 plus interest.
Maier could not be reached Wednesday for comment about Swanson’s latest lawsuit. His secretary said he was attending a conference.
A message left on his cellphone was not immediately returned.
In responding to Marcelli’s suit, Maier’s attorneys wrote in court papers that, “All funds referenced in the complaint were paid and/or received in good faith and under color of law, making plaintiff’s recovery of said funds untenable.”
They also said Maier was the de-facto sheriff during the time at issue.
Maier is represented by attorneys Thomas L. Rosenberg and Michael R. Traven of Columbus.
In both suits over Maier’s compensation, the attorney who wrote the complaints is Craig T. Conley. He also represents a Massillon woman who has protested Maier’s candidacy in the May 6 primary election.
The Stark County Board of Elections is scheduled to consider that ballot challenge at 9 a.m. Friday in the conference room at the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, 222 Market Ave. N in downtown Canton.
Maier initially was appointed sheriff to replace Michael A. McDonald, who was elected in 2012 but was unable to serve due to a terminal illness.
Nancy Molnar may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.