Miami Twp. trustees call for Antani to step down; state senator fires back

Township trustees cite Antani’s unwillingness to back funding for community projects; Antani says he opposes entire process

The Miami Twp. Board of Trustees is seeking the resignation of state Sen. Niraj Antani, R-Miami Twp., who represents the township, among other areas of Montgomery County.

During Tuesday’s regularly scheduled township trustees meeting, the board unanimously approved a resolution calling for Antani to step down, largely citing their frustration with his role in the state capital budget process, including the One Time Strategic Community Investment Fund (OTSCIF).

That program was described as a way to “return taxpayers their money through community projects throughout the state which enhance our quality of life.” Miami Twp. officials said they submitted two projects to Antani’s office for consideration.

Trustees said in their resolution that Miami Twp. “was not informed that our projects would not be submitted as part of the selection process due to the Senator’s objection to the program and did not have an opportunity to otherwise participate in the senate selection process.”

Trustees said Antani, who represents the 6th District in the Ohio Senate, “neglects his obligations to represent his constituents by failing to provide them an opportunity to participate in the distribution of funding” through OTSCIF and because “he publicly maintains that he will refuse to represent his constituents in future distributions of tax revenues to the benefit of his constituents.”

The board of trustees asked that Antani “immediately vacate his office so that a replacement might be named who, without regard for political ambition and personal conflicts, will competently execute the public trust to the benefit of the constituents of the Ohio 6th Senate District.”

Told by this news outlet of the board’s resolution Tuesday night, Antani said, “I strongly stand by my vote against the bill that spent $700 million of surplus taxpayer dollars on special pet projects.”

“As a staunch conservative, I vehemently oppose these liberal Miami Twp. trustees, who have voted to raise taxes multiple times, wanting $2.6 million of surplus state taxpayer dollars for their special pet park projects,” Antani said. “No politician is entitled to taxpayer dollars for their pet projects. I want to be very clear: I don’t work for politicians. I work for the people, and I will always do everything I can to return the people’s taxpayer dollars back to them through tax cuts, and vote against spending on pork barrel projects.”

Antani said that “at any time” trustees could have called, texted, or emailed him to advocate for their projects, but that he “didn’t hear once from any of them.”

“My office received the project submission from their staff, but received no meeting or call request,” he said. “As well, I received no notice they were considering this resolution.”

Trustee President Don Culp told this news outlet that Antani “received the same period of notice that township taxpayers received when he purposefully ignored his duty and let millions of their tax dollars go to other communities outside of the 6th District.”

Culp and Trustee Vice President Terry Posey Jr. declined to provide further comment after the meeting. Trustee John Morris during the meeting read a one-page statement, criticizing Antani for a variety of reasons.

“Niraj used to visit Miami Twp. trustee meetings giving his report from the state capital,” Morris said. “He used to like to finish with saying, ‘I’m doing all I can for the township in Columbus.’ After hearing this multiple times in my first term as a trustee, I once openly asked him why he voted against numerous bills that would have actually helped our township and its constituents. His answer was to never come to another meeting here.”

Antani claimed Morris had conflicts between his trustee role and private sector job that were the reason their “relationship deteriorated.”

Last month, Centerville City Council had a similar measure on their agenda, calling for Antani’s resignation, but they withdrew it the day of the meeting to give the lawmaker more time to address several issues that city has with his representation.

A Dayton Daily News investigation published in May found Antani had missed numerous Senate votes and committee hearings, had opted not to meet with local stakeholders, and had not submitted a list of priorities to Senate leadership for the strategic investment fund folded into the state’s larger capital budget. Antani told this news organization he opted not to partake on ideological grounds.

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