Judge: More of Cincinnati City Council's secret texts must be released

From The Cincinnati Enquirer

Secret texts between a majority of Cincinnati City Council were released Friday, but a judge Monday said all texts relevant to those conversations – even if they're just between two members – must be released.

It was a bombshell decision that attorneys representing the city fought against, as did a private attorney for Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld. Never before have such limited conversations among Cincinnati city officials been made public.

"Elected officials, when you get elected to an office, I think some think they work for themselves," said Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman. "They work for the people. Although some (of the texts) might be embarrassing, they should be released."

At that, Ruehlman said the limited text conversations should be given to attorney Brian Shrive, who is suing five members of council on behalf of citizen Mark Miller, alleging the members held public meetings via text.

Those members, P.G. Sittenfeld, Chris Seelbach, Greg Landsman, Tamaya Dennard and Wendell Young admitted Friday the group conversations happened and released them to Shrive and the Enquirer. But they did not release any texts between fewer than five members.

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