Lawyer: Armstrong Plans to Give Money Back to Students if He Wins Lawsuit
Board Member Rod Armstrong's lawyer said he thinks he has a strong case against the Stow-Munroe Falls School District Treasurer and the rest of the board members over an executive session Aug. 13, 2012.
If Rod Armstrong ends up getting any damages awarded to him from a lawsuit filed against the Stow-Munroe Falls School District treasurer and his fellow board members, he plans to give the money back to the students, according to Armstrong's lawyer.
Attorney Warner Mendenhall said Armstrong filed a complaint with the Summit County Court of Common Pleas Monday for three reasons:
- That the board shouldn't have gone into executive session [Aug. 13].
- They went into an executive session to deal with what they felt is a problematic action by a public official. [The board voted to go into an executive session for personnel matters.]
- They never expressed any legitimate reason for an executive session.
The school board unanimously voted yes to go into an executive session Aug. 13.
"Whoever is advising them is not advising correctly on how to manage their activity at the school board," said Mendenhall. "The whole idea is that essentially our public bodies — like school boards or city councils — should be open to public review of their activities. They were trying to hide what was going on in the school system at the school board meeting."
The next step is that the board members and treasurer will be served the complaint.
Board President Karen Powers said she had not seen the complaint yet, as of Tuesday evening, and deferred further questions to the district's attorney, Adam Miller.
Miller was not reached for comment Tuesday.
"They will deny allegations [of the complaint] I'm sure," said Mendenhall, who said he's handled several cases like this. "I think we have a really strong case."
Armstrong's attorney said his client is not involved in this to put money in his own pocket.
In the complaint, Armstrong is asking the board to “provide and maintain accurate minutes of all meetings and to provide adequate reasons for executive sessions in conformity with Ohio law.” He also asks for $500 for each executive session that could be deemed inaccurate without the proper records of minutes.
"My client, if he wins, intends to donate whatever he wins in the lawsuit back to the students," said Mendenhall. "He's got a good job, he doesn't need the money ... he wants to make his point that these guys were behaving badly."