January 27, 2015
In one of the more outrageous political acts we have witnessed, in last fall’s election on a Charter Amendment banning Red Light Cameras, officials of the City of Maple Heights (a suburb of Cleveland) obtained and released confidential income tax information of initiative proponent Bill Brownlee, a member of the City Council.
The information was in a flyer ostensibly designed and distributed to dissuade voters from voting for the ballot initiative, but appeared more aimed at smearing several of the Mayor’s political opponents.
Ohio Revised Code Section 718.13(A) expressly makes all information in municipal tax returns confidential. This protection is then repeated in the Maple Heights Municipal Code.
The Mayor, the Law Director, and the Council President also have worked in other ways to target their political opponent and suppress his speech.
Our firm filed suit for Bill Brownlee two weeks ago to recover damages arising from the referenced conduct and discourage its repetition. A link to the suit is here.