Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Tristate A.M. Report

Fired lawyer sues city solicitor's office

A former lawyer in the Cincinnati Solicitor's Office sued his old boss Monday, claiming the city violated his constitutional rights when he was fired for participating in a taxpayer lawsuit against the city.

Ely Ryder, a 30-year veteran of the solicitor's office, lost his job last month when he joined seven other members of the Cincinnati Retirement System's board of trustees in the taxpayer lawsuit. The suit claims the system is entitled to at least $16 million of the $54 million windfall the city received when its health insurer, Anthem Inc., issued stock last year.

City officials have said Ryder had a clear conflict of interest because the solicitor's office was defending the city against the taxpayer suit.

But in the lawsuit Ryder filed Monday in U.S. District Court, he claims he has a free-speech right to participate in the taxpayer suit. He also accuses city officials of illegally searching his desk and seizing documents about the case that were marked "attorney client privilege."

City Solicitor J. Rita McNeil could not be reached late Monday. Ryder's lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Professor's killer must stay in mental facility

HAMILTON - A Butler County judge Monday ordered a woman who was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the slaying of a Miami University professor to remain in Ohio's sole maximum-security mental facility.

Judge Keith Spaeth found that the Timothy B. Moritz Forensic Unit in Columbus was the "least-restrictive setting" to house Tonda Lynn Ansley, 37.

Police records say Ansley told an officer she shot Sherry Lee Corbett, 55, on July 27 because she feared Corbett and others were conspiring to kill her. Corbett owned houses and apartments in the Dayton Lane Historic District, where she was shot.

Ansley was one of Corbett's tenants.

Mental-health professionals later said Ansley was insane at the time of the crime. They now say her mental illness is in remission while she takes strong anti-psychotic medication and continues treatment programs.

By law, Ansley is entitled to another hearing within six months to review whether her placement should be changed. Judge Spaeth set it for Dec. 1.

Man accused of faking police distress call

HAMILTON - A city man is accused of using a ham radio to make a false "officer down" call, causing police to respond with sirens and lights to Hamilton High School last Thursday.

David Ray Sturgill, 43, is scheduled to appear in Municipal Court today on five charges: disrupting public services, inducing panic, possession of criminal tools, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. The most serious charge he faces, disrupting public services, is a fourth-degree felony that carries an 18-month prison term upon conviction.

A police report says that, on Saturday, when officers arrested Sturgill in connection with the bogus distress call, he had a bag of marijuana and a pipe.

Lebanon man indicted on sex charges

LEBANON - A 28-year-old Lebanon man accused of trolling the Lebanon High School parking lot in search of sex was indicted Monday on charges of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and importuning.

James Ellis II, of Monroe Drive, is accused of having sex with a freshman girl he met in the parking lot and propositioning three others for sex, Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel said.

Police say the incidents involved 14- and 15-year-old girls and occurred from December 2002 to April 2003.

Hutzel said information about Ellis surfaced after one of the girls was disciplined for missing school and ran away.

UC ranks higher in medical grant funding

The University of Cincinnati has climbed in national rankings for medical research funding.

After winning $9.8 million in grants for 15 projects in 2002 from the National Institutes of Health, UC's neurology department was ranked 10th of 72 centers nationwide in grant funding, up from 31st the previous year.

Five other departments within the UC College of Medicine ranked among the top 15 in their category: environmental health (4th of 54); cell biology, neurobiology and anatomy (15th of 89); molecular genetics (13th of 48); obstetrics and gynecology (14th of 77); and surgery (15th of 80). The surgery department climbed 13 places from 28th in 2001.

As a whole, the UC College of Medicine ranked 19th out of 73 public medical schools and 42nd out of 125 public and private medical schools combined.

CPS groundbreaking party at Rockdale

To celebrate construction of a new Rockdale Elementary School - the first of 35 new schools and 31 others that will be renovated - a groundbreaking and celebration picnic will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. today at 305 Rockdale Ave. in Avondale.

Alton L. Frailey, superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools, will join other dignitaries to celebrate the district's building-construction initiative.

In May, voters approved a bond issue to complete the funding for the district's $985 million plan. Rockdale is the first project.

- Compiled from staff and wire reports

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