Newspaper Record of XXXXX/JACOBS in Avon,
Ohio -- November 7, 2001 to 4-21-02

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11-7-01 Mayor Smith elected
11-22-01 Does Richard Jacobs need to do this?
12-14-01 Petitions filed to stop car dealer. Why?
12-29-01 Phillips threatens `litigation' over Kilroy's appointment as Law Director
2-5-02 No Law Director yet
2-12-02 Avon approves new law director
4-21-02 "... a landmark decision that will dramatically change zoning cases"

This question will not go away: Why was land under option to Jacobs in 1998 favored with no increase in real estate tax valuation?

City of Avon 2001 General Election Results, 11-6-01

Mayor (1 to be elected)

Theordore Graczyk, Jr. - 1,134

James A. Smith - 3,142

Council-at-Large (3)

Joanne M. Easterday - 2,385

Larry Jay Hoekstra, II - 1,392

Jack Kilroy - 2,078

David Mast - 1,587

Thomas L. Wearsch - 2,421 (Council President elect)

Council Ward 1 (1)

Mark David Julius - 602

Council Ward 2 (1)

Carol A. Hartwig - 620

David L. Kaiser - 233

Council Ward 3 (1)

Timothy E. Nickum - 920

Council Ward 4 (1)

Gerald T. Gentz - 938

School Board (3)

James S. Alten - 1,936

Susan Harrison - 2,137

Debra C. Polovich - 2,357

Dale G. Smitek - 1,929

1) Lorain County Community College - Replacement and increase 1.5 mills, 10 years - Continuing education services, operating costs, etc.

For: 37,193 Against: 31,529

2) Lorain County T.B. Clinic - Renewal .2 mill, 5 years - Providing funds for operating T.B. Clinic

For: 39,411 Against: 27,927

3) Lorain County General Health District - Renewal 1 mill, 5 years - Operating expenses

For: 20,288 Against: 12,497

4) Avon City - Income tax increase, continuing - full-time fire department and operation thereof

For: 2,772 Against: 1,542

5) Avon City - Charter amendment - Resident of City 1 year before election or appointment

For: 3,528 Against: 625

26) Avon Local School District - Renewal .62 mill, 5 years - Emergency requirements

For: 3,075 Against: 1,234

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 11-7-01, CRAIG RIMLINGER, Morning Journal Writer

``AVON -- Mayor Jim Smith will continue at the city's helm after voters re-elected him last night by an almost 3-1 margin over Ted Graczyk.

Smith, 53, received 3,142 votes to Graczyk's 1,134 showing, according to complete unofficial results. He had the commanding lead throughout the night.

The vote is a validation of the progress the city has made under his tenure, Smith said last night.

''It just goes to show his [Graczyk's] campaign did not work as well as he thought it would. People are happy with the way the city is moving,'' he said. ''People saw his campaign tricks and read through it.''

Going into the night, Graczyk, 54, said he thought his campaign would have produced closer results ...

For Graczyk, last night's results end what became a challenge to get his name on the ballot.

He submitted a set of election petitions Aug. 17 [2001] ...

In a span of 24 hours, Graczyk collected 66 new signatures, submitted a second set of petitions and asked that the original ones be discarded ...

Throughout the challenges, Graczyk said he was confident his name would appear on the ballot. He hired Avon-based attorney Gerald Phillips to help him.

Meanwhile, the first set of petitions is being reviewed by the Lorain County Prosecutor's Office for possible election falsification ... ''

Go to the Top of this page for election results.

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``... Secret wars -- Espied at [Cleveland] City Council: Dick Jacobs lobbyist Joe Rice trying to ply from council members a concession for Chagrin Highlands, the huge city-owned suburban tract.

As always, Dick wants big-box retail on the property he leases ... And as always, that would erase the dream of high-end office development on the site, which is what the lease currently requires.

The city spent millions in court to force Jacobs to conform to the lease, but that hasn't stopped him from routinely pressuring council to change the requirement altogether. With council in its current makeup down to its last days, beware the midnight giveaway ... ''

[The taxpayers have paid over $150 million for an interchange on I-271 and other road improvements to accommodate Jacobs' Chagrin Highlands development.]

Could a "Chagrin Highlands" happen to Avon?

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 12-14-01, By Brad Dicken

[Phillips stops car dealership on Chester Road. Why?

Do we need more Section 8 housing on Chester Road?]

``AVON -- A proposed car dealership at the southeast corner of Chester and Moore roads in Avon will be delayed a year because of a petition filed Wednesday [12-12-01] with the city asking for a referendum on the rezoning of the property.

[This rezoning was not a change to the Master Plan.

There are two separate documents in question, the Zoning Map and the Master Land Use Plan. The Master Plan clearly calls for either Multi-Family or Commercial on this parcel.

The Zoning Map identifies this property as only Multi-Family. Thus the need for a zoning change.]

Avon attorney Gerald Phillips, who filed 37 pages of petitions with 1,067 signatures, said residents who live near the 25-acre property hired him to represent them. He said he could not disclose their names ...

City Council approved rezoning the land from residential apartments to commercial last month at the request of A.J. Rose Manufacturing, which is across the street from the property.

Planning Commission Chairman Jim Piazza said. A.J. Rose and some of its partners own the land. Piazza said the Planning Commission approved the change in September and had hoped to see the project go forward.

The land abuts Interstate 90 on the south side. Two other corners of the intersection are zoned commercial. Piazza said a low-income apartment complex is being built nearby.

Phillips filed the petition, which he circulated along with his wife, former mayoral candidate Ted Graczyk, and eight other people who live outside the city [hired by whom?], 30 days after council passed it.

Clerk of Council Ellen Young said ... Phillips had more than the required 10 percent of registered Avon voters who were required to sign the petition.

Effectively, it stops the process for a year, Young said.

Council must now vote to repeal the zoning change or put it on the ballot in November [2002]. Young said the deadline for council action is Jan. 11, with its last scheduled meeting before that being a work session Jan. 7 [2002].

The petitions have been turned over to the Lorain County Board of Elections for verification.

Piazza said he thought the dealership, which was apparently going to be a General Motors franchise, would fit in well at the intersection.

"It's a loss to the city from my standpoint," he said ...

Mayor James Smith said he was satisfied the Council and Planning Commission had made an informed decision ...''

Contact Brad Dicken at

NEWS ARTICLE from The PRESS, 12-19-01, By Mike Ferrari

``Phillips gets signatures

...In a questionable move, Phillips could have used an outside company to obtain the signatures from local residents under the premise that the petition they were signing was not [against] the dealership; instead it was for the right to vote only ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 12-21-01, By Brad Dicken

``AVON -- Six attorneys want Avon Law Director Daniel Stringer's job.

Stringer is retiring at year's end, and among the applicants who have submitted resumes to replace him are a city councilman, a former law director, Avon Lake's retiring fire chief and ... Gerald Phillips ...

A public records request accompanied Phillips resume. He requested to see copies of all other resumes submitted for the job. Phillips said he wanted the copies to see who his competition was.

"Based on the resumes, (there are) only two candidates who are qualified and that's myself and [Jacobs' attorney] Thomas Smith," he said ... ''

Contact Brad Dicken at

NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 12-28-01, By ANDREA MIGHT, Morning Journal Writer

``Kilroy new law director in Avon

AVON -- Newly re-elected Councilman-at-large Jack Kilroy was appointed last night as Avon's new law director, but not without opposition from another candidate.

Avon attorney Gerald W. Phillips said City Council's appointment of Kilroy was illegal because Kilroy has not practiced law since 1991.

However, retiring Law Director Dan Stringer said Kilroy didn't have to practice law in an office setting to be considered for the job.

Mayor James Smith agreed ... ''Jack (Kilroy) is my choice for the law director's position,'' Smith said. ''I feel that with his experience . . . he has the ability to step in and make a smooth transition toward leadership in our law department. Jack will be an asset to the community and the administration.''...

Smith said he doesn't yet know who will fill Kilroy's council-at-large seat. He said City Council members will do a search, accept resumes and make the decision.

Council also made seven other appointments last night.

Robert Hamilton was named finance director, Gerald Plas as service director, Robert E. Allen as safety director, James Malloy to the planning commission, Karen Meyer as ADA coordinator, Barb Kraus as treasurer and Ellen Young as clerk of council.''

MEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 12-28-01, By Brad Dicken

``Lawyer protests Kilroy appointment to law post

AVON -- ... At a special meeting of the Avon City Council on Thursday [12-27-01] evening, Mayor James Smith named Kilroy as his choice to replace longtime Law Director Daniel Stringer, who is stepping down at the end of the year.

"Jack fits the bill," Smith said. "He knows where we are."

But Gerald Phillips, an activist lawyer [acting for whom?] who has challenged the city several times on matters of law, says Kilroy is not qualified.

On Thursday, Phillips, who also applied for the position, sent Smith a letter expressing concern that Kilroy did not meet the city charter's requirement of having been a practicing lawyer for three years prior to applying for the law director job.

Kilroy has been the Executive Director of Grassroots Leadership Development Program Inc. in Lorain since 1994. Phillips argued that since Kilroy's resume did not list any legal work beyond a private practice in 1991, Kilroy lacked the necessary criteria ...

"I think they should consider there's going to be litigation," he said. [Is Phillips looking for another $20,000 from Avon? Or is someone trying to overwhelm Avon with law suits? -- softening us up for what?]

Smith, Stringer and Kilroy all rejected the notion that Kilroy, who said last week that he does a lot of legal work at Grassroots, didn't meet the definition of a lawyer.

Kilroy said he was considered to be an attorney in good standing by the Ohio Supreme Court and Ohio State Bar Association.

"The law director and the Supreme Court of Ohio have said I qualify, and that's good enough for me," Kilroy said, declining to comment further on Phillips' allegations ...

Stringer said although he hasn't seen Kilroy's resume, it was his understanding that Kilroy did legal work in his job with Grassroots ...

If Council accepts the mayor's appointment of Kilroy, which is supposed to take place next month, it will also name a successor to the at-large Council seat Kilroy won in November.''

Contact Brad Dicken at

NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 1-3-01, By ANDREA MIGHT, Morning Journal Writer

``Kilroy denied seat as Avon law director

AVON -- City Council rejected Mayor James Smith's recommendation to name recently re-elected Councilman-at-large Jack Kilroy as Avon's new law director.

Last night's decision came on a 4-to-2 vote.

Smith has 60 days to make a second recommendation and he said last night he didn't yet know who that would be.

Five others had expressed interest in replacing retiring Law Director Dan Stringer.

Voting against Kilroy's appointment were council members JoAnne Easterday, at-large; Mark Julius, Ward 1; Carol Hartwig, Ward 2, and Gerald Gentz, Ward 4.

Council President Tom Wearsch and Timothy Nickum, Ward 3, voted in favor of Smith's recommendation.

Kilroy thanked Wearsch and Smith for their support of his nomination for law director. However, he said he was disappointed because he said he thinks council members were misled.

''I think they were misinformed about my qualifications; I think they were misinformed about government ethics,'' Kilroy said.

The mayor said personality conflicts could have been one reason Kilroy didn't get the nod from fellow council members ...

In other action, council unanimously accepted all of Smith's remaining recommendations.

Re-appointments included Robert Hamilton as director of finance, Gerald Plas as director of public service, Karen Meyers as ADA coordinator, Barbara Kraus as treasurer and Ellen Young as clerk of council.

New appointments included Robert Allen as director of public safety and James Malloy as planning commission member.

Easterday was nominated and voted council president pro tem by fellow council members, despite no votes from Kilroy and Nickum.

Wearsch also named new heads of committees:

Kilroy will be chairperson of the finance committee,

Easterday will be chairperson of the safety committee,

Nickum will be chairperson of the service committee,

Hartwig will be chairperson of the parks and recreation committee,

Gentz will be chairperson of the legal committee and

Julius will be chairperson of the economic development committee.

Wearsch will be council's representative to the planning commission,

Easterday will be council's representative to parks and recreation,

Hartwig will be council's representative to French Creek Development Association,

Julius and Easterday will be council's representatives to the firefighter's dependents fund,

Kilroy will be council's representative to Northeast Lorain County Social Services,

Nickum will be council's representative to the senior citizen's advisory commission and

Gentz will be council's representative to the ADA review board. ''

NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 1-3-02, By Brad Dicken

``AVON -- At-large Councilman Jack Kilroy sat quietly ... as four of his fellow City Council members rejected his appointment to become Avon's next law director ...

"I've devoted my life to public service, and I'm going to continue that," Kilroy said after the meeting, adding he was a victim of a campaign of misinformation and character assassination that swayed some people.

Kilroy said issues raised by activist attorney Gerald Phillips, himself an applicant for the job, helped foster enough questions about his legal qualifications and donations to his November re-election campaign to keep him from the job ...

"I think that they passed up a very good opportunity to have a very diligent worker work for the city," Mayor Smith said ...''

Contact Brad Dicken at

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 2-5-02, By Brad Dicken

``Avon mayor returns to a city without a law director

AVON -- Mayor James Smith returned early from his vacation last week to find his administration still without a replacement for outgoing Law Director Daniel Stringer.

"A lot of this took me by surprise," he said Monday.

During his absence, Smith expected Avon City Council to approve the nomination of retired Avon Lake fire Chief Mark Aufdenkampe to the job. That collapsed at Council's Jan. 28 [2002] meeting ...

Kilroy and other Council members were ... concerned [that] the large number of local governments and developers represented by Aufdenkampe's law firm, Baumgartner and O'Toole, would pose conflict of interest problems if he were appointed.

Council's legal committee had been scheduled to meet this week to take up the subject, but Aufdenkampe took himself out of consideration last Thursday ...

Five candidates remain in the running. They are: former Avon Law Director Thomas J. Smith, Avon Lake attorney James J. Smith (neither is related to each other or the mayor); Lorain attorney Donald Zaleski; Westlake lawyer Thomas C. Simiele; and Bay Village Law Director Gary Ebert.

Activist attorney Gerald Phillips, a long-time foe of city hall who applied for the job, is not being considered, Smith said. Interviews with the remaining candidates will take place this week.

If Council and the mayor have not agreed on a person to replace Stringer by March 1, Council and not the mayor will pick the replacement. Smith, however, said he wants someone he can work with and has faith Council will approve his next choice, which he will announce at Monday's meeting.

"I want to get this thing behind us," he said. "Whoever I pick had better be willing to give up 80 percent of his other clientele because we will be taking up 80 percent of their time."''

Contact Brad Dicken at

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 2-12-02, By Brad Dicken

``Avon approves new law director

AVON -- In stark contrast to the drawn-out battles over Avon Mayor James Smith's past two nominations for law director, John Gasior sailed smoothly into the job Monday night.

Gasior is a partner of Daniel Stringer, who announced his resignation from the job in November. Gasior won unanimous approval from Council.

"I wasn't sure this day would ever come," Stringer said with a laugh as he turned his seat next to Council President Thomas Wearsch over to Gasior ...

Council interviewed Gasior in a 30-minute executive session before returning and giving him the nod without debate. Wearsch said the private meeting allowed Council members to address concerns quickly and get the job done without putting the candidate in an embarrassing situation.

Gasior applied for the job last week and Smith said the general practice lawyer is an excellent choice. He also said Gasior would benefit from working in an office next to his predecessor.

"He's just a natural fit," the mayor said. "I had to get this behind me because we've got a lot of things to do in the city."

Gasior, who lives in North Ridgeville, said Stringer encouraged him to seek the job ...''

Contact Brad Dicken at

NEWS ARTICLE from The PRESS, 2-13-02, By Mike Ferrari

``Mayor concludes search for new law director

AVON -- Being zero for two means that if you are going to get another shot you have to keep swinging; eventually something good has to happen ...

Prior to the [Council] meeting [2-11-02], [Mayor] Smith said he had interviewed attorneys Jim Walter from Lorain, Jim Smith from Avon Lake and Toni Morgan, who is the assistant law director in North Ridgeville.

He also interviewed attorneys Jim Gamelis from Avon and John Gasior, from the law firm of Stringer, Stringer and Gasior in Avon.

Council met in executive session about the impending appointment and after a half hour of pleasant discussion, they approved of Smith's third choice, John Gasior.

Gasior is a partner to Dan Stringer and they are both located at their Detroit Road office.

"I chose Mr. Gasior because he is extremely qualified and he does not have any conflicts of interest," Smith said. "It will be the smoothest transition for the city because he is already a partner with the former law director."

Smith said Gasior's past experience with the city would prove to be advantageous for council.

"Mr. Gasior has filled in for Dan in the past and has served extremely well in those situations when Dan could not be present," Smith said.

Gasior said his long-time involvement with the city helped his decision to be considered for the law director position.

"I'm happy to be coming in as the law director," Gasior said. "The big thing for the city is that I'm kind of taking over for Dan (Stringer) my partner and there is going to be an easy transition I hope."

Gasior said after what happened with the first two candidates that he and Stringer felt something had to be done for the city ...

"I think that John is a great choice," Councilwoman-at-Large JoAnne Easterday said with a smile. "I have spoken with him over the years and the thing that people say the most about him is that he is very quiet, how refreshing."''

NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 2-23-02, By Brad Dicken

``Avon lawyer working with Ralph Nader

Activist attorney Gerald Phillips of Avon has joined forces with a group working with one the nation's most outspoken activists -- Ralph Nader.

Phillips has been investigating for the Taxpayer's Coalition how tax abatement deals are handled in Avon ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 4-21-02, By Jesse Tinsley, Plain Dealer Reporter

[If any Avon governmental body requests a NOACA study of the feasibility of an I-90 interchange at Nagel Rd., would such a request give Jacobs a basis for demanding that the land he owns there be rezoned from industrial to commercial?]

``Mayfield Hts. must pay developer

MAYFIELD HEIGHTS -- In a ruling that could affect every community in the state, the Ohio Supreme Court has ordered the city to compensate developers for not allowing them to build a shopping center on their land.

Two years ago, the state's highest court ruled that the city's single-family zoning for the 22-acre site near Mayfield Road and Interstate 271 was unconstitutional. The zoning had landed in court because Mayfield Heights officials had rejected requests to rezone the land.

The developers - Michael A. Shemo and Larry Goldberg - then demanded compensation, arguing that the zoning restriction and procedural delays constituted a temporary seizure of the property, banning owners from retail development and resulting in financial loss.

The high court unanimously agreed this month and sent the case back to Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court to set damages. The award could be substantial, because the period of dispute ran from March 1992 to April 2001.

The case stems from guarantees in the U.S. and Ohio constitutions that private property cannot be taken by a public entity without just compensation. In this case, the argument was that the city effectively took the land by refusing to change the zoning.

"This is a landmark decision that will dramatically change zoning cases," said lawyer Stephen O'Bryan, who has represented municipalities and developers in Supreme Court zoning cases over the last 30 years.

He said the city held up the developer for more than nine years, even though the city lost several interim court cases, including one in which the property was deemed uninhabitable because of its proximity to Interstate 271, high-tension wires and freeway lights ...

During the dispute, Mayfield Heights officials and residents opposed retail and higher-density residential use of the property, claiming that it would draw more traffic, decrease property values and damage the serenity of an adjacent residential neighborhood. The site was originally zoned for single-family homes ...

In 2000 the Supreme Court concluded that the site - between I-271 and Bonnie Lane/Golden Gate Boulevard, north of a Best Buy store - was not suitable for residential use and that the city could not justify residential zoning. Therefore, the court said, that zoning was unconstitutional and the proposed retail use was reasonable. The court ordered the city to change the zoning to retail, which the city did not do until April 2001 after other disputes over roads and access to the site ...

A city's best defense against unwanted development is good lawyers and reasonable zoning laws that do not impinge upon a developer's constitutional rights, said John Gotherman, an attorney for the Columbus-based Ohio Municipal League ...''

Contact Jesse Tinsley at

More Documents Relating to the June 8, 1998, Decision Against Avon

Newspaper Record of XXXXX/Jacobs in Avon

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