Attorneys for Cincinnati’s Gang of Five informed us today that Wendell Young and Tamaya Dennard have destroyed text messages responsive to our public records and discovery requests. Dennard claims to have accidentally dropped her phone in a swimming pool and Young simply and intentionally deleted his text messages.
It is our understanding that the messages were destroyed after we filed suit and submitted discovery requests seeking the text messages. City attorneys were informed over a week ago about this issue, but chose to remain silent until today.
Within the context of Ohio’s Public Records law, destruction of public records is punished by a forfeiture of $1,000 per record. Within the discovery context, sanctions include a finding of contempt of court, fines, and in extreme instances, jail time.
City lawyers claim that they are working to recover the messages if possible, but that leaves questions as to why they represented to the Court of Appeals just yesterday that they had turned over all of the text messages.
Finney Law Firm will also explore removal from office as a potential sanction for Young and Dennard.