December 18, 2023
COLUMBUS, OH - At least two Columbus lawyers have publicly expressed their legal opinion that Mayor Andy Ginther's ex parte phone call to Environmental Judge Stephanie Mingo on October 11, 2023 appears to have been a violation of Ohio's civil rights laws, and thus a crime.
In the December 14, 2023 Demand Letter from Attorney Phil Harmon to Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein, Mr. Harmon confronted Mr. Klein with the legal argument that there is prima facie evidence that Mayor Ginther committed the crimes of Obstructing Official Business (RC 2921.31) and Interfering With Civil Rights (RC 2921.45). (See PDF file of letter below.)
Likewise, in the below PDF article published by WSYX on December 15, 2023, lawyers for the Barons Bus Inc. are quoted as also making the argument that Mayor Ginther committed the crime of Interfering With Civil Rights (RC 2921.45). The relevant portion of the WSYX article states, as follows:
"Attorneys for Barons Bus Inc. had warned Judge Mingo in previous court filings that she may be called as a witness if Mayor Ginther denies their conversation, or calling her chambers. They called the mayor's communication an attempt to influence the court in his favor. They cited Ohio law Section 2921.45, that states no public servant shall interfere with a person's civil rights".
So, as of December 15, 2023, lawyers representing two different parties (i.e. Motil and Barons Bus Inc.) both agreed there is evidence that Mayor Ginther may have committed the crime of Interfering With Civil Rights (RC 2921.45).
But, in the December 11, 2023 article published by WSYX, City Attorney Klein was quoted as saying, "No crime was committed, and there is nothing to investigate".
Based on the competing legal views of this case, the public interests demand a thorough and independent criminal law investigation into Mayor Ginther's phone call to Judge Mingo.
I, Joe Motil, again call for City Attorney Klein to recuse himself and his office from this matter due to conflict of interest (i.e. the City Attorney represents Mayor Ginther by City Charter at the same time the City Attorney is the Prosecuting Attorney for the City of Columbus).
I, Joe Motil, again call for an independent investigation of Mayor Ginther's ex parte call to Judge Mingo by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to determine if Mayor Ginther should face criminal prosecution for his attempt to pressure Judge Mingo to rule in his favor.