Akron Beacon Journal reports on document destruction controversy

From The Akron Beacon Journal Stow Clerk of Courts Kevin Coughlin ordered the email of two former employees to be destroyed June 15, the same week the city of Stow’s Law Department was working to fill a public records request about the attendance record of one of the employees in question.

On Oct. 2, Coughlin instructed the courthouse’s computer server company not to cooperate with any public records requests made by the city or its law department.

And this week, the city complied with a public records request in which Coughlin sought everything from emails to expense reports involving Stow Mayor Sara Drew and Law Director Amber Zibritosky.

What started out as a war of public records involving the three candidates for the clerk’s seat — Coughlin, an independent, and his challengers, Democrat Diana Colavecchio and Republican Don Robart — has now fully involved the courthouse’s host city.

Asked what he was looking for on the mayor and law director, Coughlin replied: “I’m just a curious guy. Always learning.”

Drew said she could shed no light on what Coughlin hoped to find, and that if the clerk is seeking some kind of retaliation because the city filled public records requests, “it would be unfortunate.”

“The law director and I have been very clear that our job and our role is to ensure that the city of Stow’s interests are protected and that everyone is fully complying with Ohio public records law to the best of their ability,” she said.

The Beacon Journal requested a copy of the records that were delivered to Coughlin, as well as any communications the city has had with Dynamic Data Inc. (DDI), the company that maintains the courthouse server.

Those email communications detail the process of filling recent records requests.

Continue Reading>>