Democrats’ lawsuit ends as Mandel gives up records

From The Columbus Dispatch After more than three months and an Ohio Supreme Court filing, state Treasurer Josh Mandel turned over public records requested by the Ohio Democratic Party — on Election Day.

The Ohio Supreme Court yesterday granted the Democrats’ motion to dismiss their lawsuit seeking records from Republican Mandel after his office delivered the documents following sessions with a court-appointed mediator.

The Democrats sued Mandel on Sept. 3 after the treasurer’s office failed to turn over records initially requested on July 18.

The records, largely associated with Mandel’s hiring of two companies to conduct telephone “town halls” with Ohioans at a cost of nearly $130,000, consist of routine contracts, bills, purchase orders, agreements and other paperwork.

Democrats had accused Mandel, who won re-election on Nov. 4 over state Rep. Connie Pillich, D-Cincinnati, of using tax funds to promote himself in an election year. Mandel denied the charges.

Mandel’s office also turned over two emails, which had emerged previously, between the fundraiser for his unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign, Scott Guthrie, and Eric Synenberg, a Mandel staff member, concerning Benjamin Suarez.

Suarez, a North Canton, Ohio, businessman, was accused of illegally channeling $100,000 each to the federal campaigns of Mandel and Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, in the 2012 election.

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