City Will Settle Lawsuit Over Council Texts for $101,000

The settlement will also mean the release of texts sent between January and October between any two of the five council members involved

click to enlarge Cincinnati City Hall - Nick Swartsell
Nick Swartsell
Cincinnati City Hall

The City of Cincinnati will pay conservative activist Mark Miller $11,000 and his attorney Brian Shrive's $90,000 in legal fees to settle a lawsuit over text messages five Cincinnati City Council members sent each other in violation of open meetings laws.

The city has already released texts sent among the entire group of council members during the stormy ouster of Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black last spring. But texts sent between January and October last year between any two members of the group — which includes Wendell Young, P.G. Sittenfeld, Chris Seelbach, Greg Landsman and Tamaya Dennard — will also be released under the settlement, according to a draft of the agreement. In exchange, Miller will drop a lawsuit in Hamilton County courts seeking those messages as public records.

However, the settlement also stipulates that the release of those texts does not make future texts sent between two elected officials public record.

Miller will get $10,000 because Young deleted some of his text messages and another $1,000 because the council members violated open meetings laws.

Miller, Shrive and the members of council are scheduled to attend a hearing about the settlement with Hamilton County Judge Robert Ruehlman March 7.

The five members discussed approaches to a stalemate between Black and Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, who wanted Black fired after the city manager fired a high-ranking Cincinnati Police Department official. Council had to approve Black's firing, something the five members were hesitant to do at first. The city manager quit in April just before council voted to fire him.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles


Join CityBeat Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.