Huber Heights city attorney Alan Schaeffer has determined that council candidates Glenn Otto and Richard Shaw are in violation of a city ordinance by using the city logo on their campaign websites.
Schaeffer issued a response Monday evening to the complaint filed by resident Alexander Black Jr. earlier this month against Otto and Shaw.
Black Jr. sent a letter to Schaeffer on Oct. 1 claiming Otto and Shaw violated a city ordinance by using the “city’s logo on their respective campaign websites without permission from the city to do so.”
In a response obtained by the Dayton Daily News, Schaeffer wrote that Otto and Shaw “have no permission to (make use of the city logo) nor have you asked for permission to use the City Logo. This is an irrefutable fact regardless of any opinions you may have received from other sources.”
Schaeffer provided two options for Otto and Shaw — stop using the city logo and seek permission or continue as they are, ignoring the ordinance.
Otto and Shaw said last week they committed no wrongdoing, they have not and will not make any changes to their campaign websites, and the matter is closed in their eyes.
They reiterated that Tuesday when reached by phone, saying they will not alter their websites, which will go offline Nov. 4 after the election. Otto and Shaw also said they asked if there was a procedure in place to request permission, but were not given any direction from the city.
Schaeffer said he informed Otto and Shaw last week after the Administration Committee meeting they could make a formal request for permission to him. The next day, Shaw issued an official statement.
“The campaign website has been reviewed by legal counsel and an ethics board covering city, county and state laws, with no violations found to date,” Shaw said in that statement. “Simply, this complaint is highly politically motivated to derail the motivation this campaign has going into the election.”
Otto did not issue a formal statement last week, but said he was in full agreement with Shaw. Shaw declined to reveal the legal counsel and ethics board that reviewed the matter, only noting he has legal consultation at his disposal with his employer.
“The way we had left it (last week) was, ‘The ball’s in your court, guys,’” Schaeffer said. “I’ve rendered my opinion. At this point, other than a very brief discussion with Glenn Otto (Monday night), I’m waiting for a response from them. I’m not really sure what their intentions are at this point.”
Otto and incumbent Jan Vargo will square off for an at-large seat Nov. 3 after they finished 1-2 in the primary in May. Shaw is opposing incumbent Lu Dale for the Ward 1 seat.
Black Jr. also filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission against Otto, alleging Otto failed to report certain expenditures on his pre- and post-primary Ohio campaign finance reports.
Otto said Tuesday he received a copy of the complaint Saturday and will be issuing a formal response soon.
Black Jr. said last week the initiative to file formal complaints against Otto and Shaw started last month after Shaw alleged unethical and illegal conduct against Dale related to campaign material.
“It was time to take the gloves off and play fair,” Black Jr. said. “I’d rather stick to town hall meetings and door-to-door campaigns, and not go this route.”
Shaw said it would be in the best interests of the city to revisit the city logo ordinance and clear up any confusion that exists, including how to apply for such permission.
“The Ordinance needs some work to make it more understandable and more practical in application and I recognize this as a responsible first step to take even though I cannot agree with your position,” Schaeffer wrote in his response.
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