Thursday, March 29, 2001

Lawrenceburg feud worsens

Mayor, clerk take office battles to court

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LAWRENCEBURG — The accusations among top officials here are piling up faster than quarters from Argosy's slot machines.

        Clerk-treasurer Grace Case sued the mayor this month for moving her office into what she calls “a subterranean cellar.”

        “It was breaking-and-entering,” Ms. Case said Tuesday, adding that crowbars were used to gain access to her former office.

        Furniture, equipment and computers were damaged in the move to the bottom floor of 349 Walnut St., which is city-owned space used primarily by the police department, she said.

        The cost of repairing and restoring computer databases might exceed $50,000, she said.

        Mayor Paul Tremain Sr. countersued Ms. Case last week, seeking to remove her from her elected job.

        Mr. Tremain's lawsuit alleges that Ms. Case improperly:

        • Moved her office off city property to space she personally is renting at 213 W. William St.

        • Changed ordinances after they were passed.

        • Made unauthorized payments.

        • Ran a private business from city offices.

        • Threatened to withhold paychecks from employees of other departments who didn't obey her.

        “She seems to be forgetting her office is of an administrative nature,” said Michael Marine, Mr. Tremain's attorney.

        Mr. Tremain could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

        He and Ms. Case are Republicans.

        Mr. Tremain is a former Dearborn County commissioner who ousted the incumbent mayor in 1999. He campaigned for better management of income from Argosy Casino.

        Ms. Case is in her third four-year term as clerk-treasurer.

        Both have supporters among other Lawrenceburg officials.

        The Board of Works, which oversees utilities and city property, sided with the mayor in moving Ms. Case's office.

        Three of the five Common Council members sided with the clerk in her lawsuit against Mr. Tremain.

        Dearborn Circuit Judge James Humphrey has ordered the two sides to participate in emergency mediation Friday.

        Mr. Marine said he is hopeful for a resolution then, but said the matter will go back to court if one is not reached.


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