I Can't stand bad Lawyers

This Mark Baran who is slinging inaccurate information about his preferred candidate's opponent in this forum and other public venues is just way off base.

He continually throws out charges that Donna Finney has "Ethical Violations"  and he is wrong.  Let me address the first part:  The Ohio Ethics Commission is a separate entity than the Ohio Elections Commission.  The Ethics Commission is in place to bring transparency to the financial transactions of elected officials and write opinions on matters related to Ethics and an elected officials involvement with certain transactions or public votes.  And most importantly, all matters reviewed by or adjudicated by this commission are a matter of public record accessible to anyone requesting.

The Ethics Commission has jurisdiction to investigate Ethics violations and refer them to the venue of proper jurisdiction. Ethics Violations are cut and dry, Black and white.  You either properly report what is expected in the manner in which it is expected or otherwise face Ethics Violations a conviction, a plea and or fine.  THATS IT!

Now the Ohio Elections Commission, again, a separate entity apart from the Ohio Ethics Commission, has jurisdiction over campaign finance and fair campaign practices.  

Now pay attention here because when making allegations, language is important and as a lawyer you should know better.  In the case surrounding  Finney's ALLEGED "ethics violations" - She in fact was named in a complaint to Ohio Elections Commission brought by Former Mayor Costabile against the campaign of another candidate with whom she was associated.  The complaint alleged that the CAMPAIGN used an alias name as the source of information contained in the campaign materials to protect that source (much in the way that a journalist would protect a source).

In a Preliminary Review of the complaint, The Ohio Elections Commission, convened and ruled that there was probable cause for a hearing in front of the Ohio Elections Commission (not a court of law).  In preparation for hearing in front of the Ohio Elections Commission, the Campaign charged and the Candidate retained an attorney whose various specialties include campaign law.  He, as a good lawyer should, sought depositions from various relevant parties including the source of the complaint, Mayor Costabile.  Mr. Costabile, an attorney, decided to represent himself during the deposition.  The deposition consisted of roughly two or three hours of questioning surrounding the material contained in the election communication in question, the facts surrounding the home purchase made by the Mayor and subsequent transactions directly related to that property.  After calling for a lunch break, because there remained many questions left unanswered or questions dodged, Mr. Costobile dropped his complaint to the Ohio Elections Commission.  Dropping an Ohio Elections Complaint is in fact a commonplace occurrence, usually done after the election is over, unless, there is something deeply personal.  In this case, the election was long over but there was something about the line of questioning that compelled the Mayor to drop his complaint.  And he did.

Ok, have we followed here, Donna Finney was named in an Ohio Elections Complaint against another candidate and his campaign with whom she had an association and after long examination of the facts contained in the campaign communication, the case was dropped.  THAT MEANS THAT THIS COMPLAINT WAS NEVER ADJUDICATED! Thus the Ohio Elections Commission disposed of the case. That means that there was NOT a Commission Hearing, Administrative Court or Court of Law that found Donna Finney guilty of anything.  Heck, there were not even any fines levied against her or the campaign!

I would suggest that you retract your misstatements.  Especially since many of the inaccurate statements and accusations were made in very public forums.  If for anything, just to maintain your integrity as an attorney, who is an officer of the court.  In addition, it can't look good with potential clients.

I think that the City needs to move forward from our previous Mayor's breech of trust to the citizens, city employees and the business community and we must move forward with someone who has never served as a rubber stamp to the previous Mayor or his friend the current Mayor.  We need to make sure that we remove any prospect that the former Mayor's influence does not penetrate the walls of city hall.  The only candidate who is free from conflict from the previous administration or any other conflict for that matter is Donna Finney.

I H8badlawyers October 29, 2013 at 12:40 AM
**We need to make sure that we protect our city from the prospect of allowing the former Mayor's influence to penetrate the walls of city hall
Mark Baran October 29, 2013 at 12:26 PM
Councilwoman Donna Finney Admitted to Violating Ohio Law and Falsification which is a "Crime of Dishonesty." This is undisputed by both you and Councilwoman Finney. Actually, I find it interesting that you post this and made a decision to be anonymous. I also find it interesting the facts that you fail to include in your statement. Here they are: 1. Donna Finney Admitted to Violation of Ohio Revised Code 3517(B)(8) and (10). Here is the link to the documents provided by the Ohio Election Commission http://youtu.be/BXt1dC3Txqk (The document show that she worked out a “deal” with former Mayor Costibile in exchange for the paragraph 5 in the Agreement that the charges against Donna Finney would not be pursued for criminal prosecution. How do I know this? I actually ordered the Transcript of the Proceedings in which her attorney, Donald C Brey, appeared on her behalf. I have a copy right her in front of me now. Did you read it? 2. The Admissions by Donna Finney, certified by a notary, is Falsification and is a “Crime of Dishonesty.” That is a breach of the public trust. I have no problem with Councilwoman Finney running for public office. However, I believe she would agree that she is a proponent of “Transparency” so therefore, she would agree to fully disclose all documents and information on this matter. But she has not. Why? Attacking me personally only draws more attention to how much of an issue this is for Councilwoman Finney. It can only go away if she is as fully honest with the public and voters as she expected of former Mayor Costibile. In fact, there is nothing to retract because if you look at Ms. Finney’s comments on this public forum, she openly stated that my comments and disclosure of documents did not offend her as I posted it. How about you post or ask Councilwoman Finney to post the following documents: 1. Any depositions of herself in the matter 2. Copies of all Subpoena’s served upon her along with all records she produced responsive to those requests. 3. Copies of all Request For Production of Documents and responsive documents 4. Copies of all Admissions and responsive documents 5. Copies of all Interrogatories and responsive documents 6. Copies of any and all letters, emails, correspondence, and any and all other documents that refer or relate to the Admission of Violation of O.R.C. 3517.21(B)(8) and (10) 7. A full disclosure of the settlement with former Mayor Costibile that led to her signing the Agreement dated July 24, 2006. Will you provide all these documents and information? Why not? Simply because there was no “Adjudication” is not responsive to these questions and I suspect you know that which is why you wish your identity to remain “hidden.” That’s ok. I would not want to be arguing that Ms. Finney did nothing wrong either – but maybe she is paying you to post that argument? Are you being paid? Please tell us. I am a resident of Mayfield Heights and have been for 10 years. Are you a resident and a voter? These are reasonable questions. In fact, based on Councilwoman Finney’s strong belief in “Transparency,” (she again verbalized them in last night’s City Council meeting that all can watch on the Public TV channel) I would think that Councilwoman Finney would want to publically disclose all the above information. Sadly, she apparently does to wish to follow her own beliefs. Very telling of her character.
Mark Baran October 29, 2013 at 09:21 PM
I figured someone might try to false make the statement you made above which was "...That means that there was NOT a Commission Hearing, Administrative Court or Court of Law that found Donna Finney guilty of anything." FALSE. THERE WAS A COMMISSION HEARING TO DECIDE WHETHER TO ACCEPT THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN DONNA FINNEY AND GREG COSTIBILE. It took place on August 24, 2006 and here is the link to the official Transcript which is also public record. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EuXMvRbyHs Simply cut and paste the above link in your browser. Why am I the one to disclose this public information? Obviously, because I live in Mayfield Heights, have lived her for 10 years, and find it important that if a Candidate is running for Mayor, as is Councilwoman Finney, has a "Crime of Dishonesty" on her past record, she should disclose it since it reflects a breach of the public trust. She is not a "reporter" and she admitted to a False Statement. Integrity and the ability to be truthful is fundamental to the office of Mayor in Mayfield Heights. To quote this author, "Heck," we just had a Mayor resign under embarassing ethical charges. Would this be a good idea to bury under the rug and have it come out later? No. if all the voters are aware of all of Donna Finney disclosures regarding this matter (and still she is elected) then that is the end of it. However, there is more that is not being disclosed by Donna Finney and that just does not sit well with me. Again, Donna Finney has gone on record, repeatedly about how important "Transparency" is in this City's government. She has made it part of her platform in the speeches she has given. Why is this a secret for her? Why?!? Just disclose all of the records. If what you claim is all true, then Donna Finney has no reason to not disclose the records and information I mentioned in my previous post.
MG November 05, 2013 at 08:53 PM
Finney/Sonnenstein "literature" during the campaign was complete garbage. Trash talking, mud slinging garbage. What a classless mayoral candidate I've ever seen (next to Sonnenstein).


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