Tuesday, November 28, 2000

Arts lawsuit decided by Friday

Hamilton County prosecutor asked to sue to stop funding

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Hamilton County prosecutor's office will make a determination by Friday about whether to file a lawsuit to stop county commissioners from giving $600,000 to an arts advocacy group called the Regional Cultural Alliance.

        If prosecutors decide not to sue, an anti-tax group likely will file the lawsuit itself.

        Citizens Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes asked the prosecutor's office last week to file the lawsuit to stop commissioners from approving an “economic development” grant for the RCA.

        Under Ohio law, COAST members had to ask the prosecutor to file suit before they could themselves.

        Assistant prosecutor Christian Schaefer wrote a letter Monday to COAST attorney Chris Finney saying a decision would be made in the next four days. There is no need to rush the decision since county commissioners will not vote on the grant this week, the letter said.

        County Commissioner Tom Neyer wants commissioners to award the grant so the organization can market Tristate arts organizations. Mr. Neyer chaired the RCA “Transition Team,” which set out to find money for the alliance and decided to ask the county commissioners for money.

        Now, as Hamilton County commissioner, Mr. Neyer wants to vote in favor of giving the money to the RCA.

        COAST members think that's a conflict of interest and have filed a complaint with the Ohio Ethics Commission. Mr. Neyer said there is no conflict.

        There has been no finding by the ethics commission, Mr. Finney said.

        “We're waiting for word, just like the commissioners and the prosecutors,” he said.

        Hamilton County Administrator David Krings confirmed Monday he has earmarked $600,000 in next year's budget for the RCA.

        If the appropriation is not approved by a majority of the three commissioners, the money will funnel back into the general fund.

        “They've told me to negotiate a contract with the RCA, so absolutely I have to account for that money,” Mr. Krings said.


Immunity for cops possible
City can't block Klan cross
N.Ky. mourns athletes killed in crashes
PULFER: Does the Spirit move you?
Time caught up to centenarian
Mayor to face fewer charges
Battle begins over funds to clean pollution
Highlands netted $152,623 from Elder game
Mother of four reported missing
Norwood squeaker recounted today
SAMPLES: Readers defend Sunshine State
UC to OK biomedical department
- Arts lawsuit decided by Friday
Butler Co. sheriff pares budget
County official accused of DUI
Gore finds support fleeting
Governor's step-mother dies
Meat firm admits to additives
School chief takes test seriously
School district wants to help its employees buy homes
St. Xavier plans food drive
Teen moms find haven
Handyman robbed of tools; gun flashed
Japanese shows kendo way
Lebanon cable costs up
Lucas loses chief of staff
Middletown isn't giving up on tax levy
One officer's crusade against substance abuse
Local Digest
Kentucky Digest