The mayor and vice mayor of New Carlisle are facing removal from office after council members made motions for them to be ousted during a city council meeting Wednesday.
Mayor Ethan Reynolds and Vice Mayor William Lindsey face accusations that could force them to leave office, including that Reynolds failed to file taxes.
There are no allegations that Reynolds didn’t pay taxes, but that he failed to file in the last five years, New Carlisle City Attorney Lynette Dinkler said in a discussion at a public meeting this week.
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Meanwhile, a number of accusations were lodged against Lindsey by city council members Mike Lowery and Aaron Leighty. Those allegations include that he asked the city manager about his sexual preference, made an inappropriate joke to Clark County deputies about a 2017 shooting of a photojournalist and at one point drove that photojournalist, Andy Grimm, to Grimm’s attorney’s office even though he knew the city was being sued.
A hearing is expected to be scheduled to decide on the motions for removal.
Reynolds dismissed the accusations against him as a political attack when reached by the Springfield News-Sun.
“This is just another baseless, politically motivated attack,” Reynolds said. “I am going to defend myself at this hearing and I have obtained legal counsel. This is just another attempt by the two members to thwart the will of the people.”
Lindsey told the Springfield News-Sun that he too feels motions were politically motivated. He declined further comment until the hearing where he said answers will become available.
Dinkler said during a meeting this week that it came to her attention Reynolds failed to file city taxes since 2013. She said there are no allegations that he didn’t pay taxes. But still, a failure to file is a first-degree misdemeanor, she said.
Reynolds contends he did pay taxes and said during the meeting he plans to take the information to his accountant to try to straighten it out. Lowery introduced a motion to remove Reynolds from office, labelling the alleged failure misconduct.
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“Mistakes happen and they happen all the time. We have all made mistakes,” Lowery told the Springfield News-Sun. “But when you got five years of unfiled taxes and you have been given letters notifying you of that there is something fishy to that.”
Dinkler said during the meeting it was her understanding Reynolds had been notified twice over the years about the failure to file. Reynolds said he doesn’t remember being notified.
Reynolds declined to go into the detail about how he paid taxes without filing them, saying that the information will be disclosed at a hearing which was prompted by Lowery’s motion for removal.
“That is something that will come during the hearing,” Reynolds said. “And I am looking forward to it coming out during that hearing.”
Lowery said the council needs to hold its members accountable and misconduct should not be tolerated.
A motion to remove was also called against Lindsey by Leighty. Accusations were lodged against Lindsey throughout the council meeting including that he went into city manager Randy Bridge’s office and asked him about his sexual orientation.
“I was highly offended that he did that,” Bridge said during the meeting.
Lindsey didn’t respond to many of the accusations against him during the meeting but did say he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong by his question to Bridge. When asked by a resident if he would ask a woman employee her sexual preference, he said “If I thought I was their friend which I thought we were friends,” before being interrupted by the resident who said she didn’t’ believe that was a friendly conversation.
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Leighty apologized to Bridge for the line of questioning posed by Lindsey.
“I’m so sorry,” Leighty said. “We should look at the city manager, he is doing a good job and nothing else.”
Leighty and Lowery also questioned how Lindsey is handling a lawsuit filed by photojournalist Andy Grimm against the city. Grimm was shot by a Clark County deputy in 2017 and New Carlisle is listed as a defendant in a federal lawsuit filed by Grimm.
The men allege that during the New Carlisle Heritage of Flight Festival that Lindsey acted inappropriately.
“Mr. Lindsey is with Mr. Andy Grimm and they are at the booth and there are three or four deputies behind the fire booth and this is after the shooting where some legal action has started to take place at this time, possibly. Mr. Lindsey throws up his hands and yells ‘don’t shoot, don’t shoot’ in front of the cops,” Lowery said. “That is extremely poor taste, timing. It’s not funny. It’s not a joke.”
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Lowery also alleged that during an executive session, Lindsey said he didn’t think it mattered whether the city loses the federal lawsuit because it has insurance. Lowery said losing the lawsuit could mean premium increases and a negative effect on the city’s budget.
“I don’t think it’s asking too much for someone to act a little bit more responsible when you’re sitting up here,” Lowery said.