The owner of Kil-Kare Raceway has sued the Xenia Twp. Board of Trustees chairman, alleging the trustee abused his position and engaged in intimidation and extortion.
David Coterel Jr.’s lawsuit, filed June 28 in Greene County Commons Pleas Court, alleges trustee James Reed violated the Ohio Corrupt Activities Act, engaged in tortious interference with business relations, breached the public trust and his official duties, violated of the state Sunshine Act and defamed Coterel.
It asks for in excess of $25,000 in damages.
The lawsuit follows Reed filing a felony complaint against Coterel in November 2012. Reed claimed he felt threatened by Coterel following a break in a trustee’s meeting. The Greene County prosecutor declined the charges because he determined the threat was too vague to rise to felony intimidation.
The Dayton Daily News tried to reach Reed multiple times. Reed did not return multiple phone messages left at the township office and his cell phone . Reed also did not attend last week’s township trustees meeting. Alan Stock, township administrator, said Reed’s wife called the day before the meeting to say “something came up” and her husband would not be able to attend.
Coterel, through his attorney Michael McNamee, declined any further comment.
Among allegations in the lawsuit:
- That in 2011 Reed approached a contractor and architect hired for a project at Coterel’s Buckminn’s D&D Harley Davidson dealership and asked for campaign contributions, claiming they got the jobs through his influence. He intimated that without a “little loving” and a “sales commission”, their employment would be in jeopardy.
- In March 2012, shortly after Coterel purchased the Kil-Kare Raceway, Reed called Coterel, saying Coterel would have to hire Reed’s wife “in order to pay him back for past favors.” Reed wanted his wife to be an independent contractor to handle liquor and tobacco sales at the track “as soon as Reed ‘pushed’ the paperwork with the state.” Coterel eventually hired the woman because, the lawsuit said, he “felt obligated to Reed for … past favors and hired her … to run the beer trailer.” The lawsuit does not specify what the “past favors” included.
- Throughout 2012, Reed held up improvements at Kil-Kare through numerous frivolous investigations, including a complaint about a fence being on township property and one involving Kil-Kare Auto Wrecking.
The issue related to the Kil-Kare fence was referred to Greene County Engineer Paul Geyer who determined there was no problem. The fence, though on township property, had been there for more than 30 years.
Geyer confirmed last week that he was upset about being pulled into the dispute. “Reed tried to throw me under the bus,” Geyer said. According to the lawsuit, Geyer sent a letter to the trustees asking them not to use his name falsely. Last week, Geyer also confirmed sending the letter demanding he be told any time a township trustee planned “to falsely use my name while acting out a personal vendetta.”
In the matter of Kil-Kare Auto Wrecking, located adjacent to the raceway but in Beavercreek Twp., township officials confirmed the complaint.
“We received the complaint and investigated,” said Alex Zaharieff, Beavercreek township administrator, said last week. “We were satisfied with the cleanup and were quite impressed.” Zaharieff said since Coterel purchased the raceway, Kil-Kare has been a good neighbor. “They keep us informed of what is happening.”
Though not a party to the civil lawsuit, Xenia township officials have directed their attorney to look into the matter.
“(W)e are trying to determine if the person or persons involved were acting on their own or as a legal representative on behalf of the entire Board of Trustees of the township,” said Stock, the township administrator.
The relationship between Reed and Coterel appeared to reach a head in November 2012 when Reed filed the felony complaint against Coterel. Reed claimed Coterel threatened him during a break in a trustee’s meeting, according to a police report.
According to the Sheriff’s Office investigation, Reed claimed he walked up to Coterel to shake his hand during the break. He claimed Coterel refused to shake his hand and stated: “I am going to get you, and I’m coming for you with everything I have.”
Reed told the investigating deputy he felt threatened by the statement and wanted to pursue charges.
When contacted by the deputy, Coterel said he refused to shake hands with Reed and “nothing else happened.” Of the two witnesses, one said he heard Coterel say “I’m coming after you” to Reed and seemed angry. The other did not hear anything.
That witness, Twp. Fire Chief Dean Fox, added that Reed and Coterel were longtime friends but “something tore them apart,” according to the report.
County Prosecutor Stephen Heller declined the charges because “the alleged threat is too vague to rise to the level of felony intimidation,” according to a letter from the prosecutor to the sheriff’s detective.