No legal action has been filed against county commissioners regarding demolition of the 1884 courthouse.
A letter sent Thursday afternoon by David Carroll, legal aid for the Seneca County Courthouse and Downtown Redevelopment Group, stated Seneca County taxpayers involved with the group would file a lawsuit against the county Monday. According to the letter, the suit claims a decision to accept a bid for demolition/salvage of the building is misappropriation of public funds.
In the letter, Carroll cited Ohio Revised Code 309.12, which allows the county's prosecuting attorney to bring civil action against elected officials to restrain an action. The letter stated Seneca County taxpayers would file the lawsuit if action was not taken by noon Monday.
Seneca County Prosecutor Derek DeVine responded to Carroll with an e-mail Friday, stating the group's call to action was disingenuous and said he looks forward to defending the county in the event of litigation.
DeVine said an injunction would be required from a judge for the project to be put on hold, regardless of litigation.
A call placed to Carroll was not returned Monday.
Another call to have the project put on hold is an online petition started by architect Mykie Hrusovski on Change.org. The petition has received more than 500 signatures as of Monday.
Hrusovski works with design firm Westlake Reed Leskovy, which has conducted engineering studies of the structure, but he said the petition was created for personal reasons.
"As part of the architectural community, I hate to see any building demolished, but the Seneca County courthouse is unique," he said.
Hrusovski said he does not support commissioners' reason for demolition, especially if the courthouse would be replaced with a smaller, new structure.
The letter has received signatures from Seneca County residents, as well as people in other Ohio counties, other states and other countries.
Commissioners are to meet at 10 a.m. today, and discussion on the courthouse is scheduled.
Three resolutions concerning the structure are to be considered, including a fee amendment with engineering firm MKC Associates Inc., a fund transfer of $373,000 to be made to the Courthouse Construction Fund and a resolution rescinding the board's orders Jan. 6 in support of renovation.
During a meeting Nov. 17, Commissioners Ben Nutter and Jeff Wagner voted to accept a bid of $373,000 from B&B Wrecking of Cleveland for demolition/salvage of the structure, as recommended by MKC Associates.
According to County Administrator Stacy Wilson, a contract was sent to B&B, with pre-approval by DeVine. Wilson said if it is approved by B&B, the contract could be considered for signing today.