Yoder seeks dismissal of GOP suit

WARREN — A lawsuit that created a distraction for the Trumbull County Republican Party during the lead-up to the general election is ongoing, although both parties said they would like to see it end.

An attorney for Martha Yoder filed a brief Thursday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, requesting the dismissal of Trumbull County GOP Chairman Randy Law’s complaint against her, as well as seeking an order to return the Republican Party to the state it was in before changes to the party’s bylaws and officers.

Yoder was serving as party secretary when some members voted to replace her. Yoder contends the vote was not legitimate. However, Law said the issue isn’t that complicated.

“I just want the Facebook page. She is holding it hostage,” Law said. He filed the initial suit in the party’s name through attorney John Large.

Law said he would dismiss the suit if Yoder completely hands over the party’s official page. He said the only reason the conflict ended up in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court is that Facebook requires a court order to change the site’s administrator and wouldn’t get involved with the dispute.

Law was added to the site as an editor, he said, but Yoder still has ultimate control of it, which he said damaged his efforts during the election to send out advertisements and some other actions limited to the administrator.

“Plus, it’s ridiculous. The site doesn’t belong to (Yoder). Just give it back. I am the chairman of the party, and it is time to move on,” Law said.

A hearing scheduled Thursday on the matter before Magistrate Jami Bishop was reset for Nov. 30, according to court records.

Documents filed by Yoder’s attorney, Thomas Campbell, state that Law hasn’t fully responded to the defendant’s request for discovery, missed a scheduled deposition Oct. 27, and he and his attorney have not been easy to contact to work out new meeting times.

The filings state the moves amount to “gamemanship, obstruction and willingness to flagrantly disobey rules and laws, both in this action and in party management.”

Law said he wasn’t aware he missed a deposition and is planning to attend one scheduled today.

He said that if the answer to the request for discovery was light, it was because the questionnaire goes into areas that have nothing to do with his suit against Yoder.

The questions are related to Yoder’s counterclaim, seeking records of meetings held to change bylaws and hold unsanctioned votes.

Campbell’s brief states the meetings that led to the new bylaws that led to Yoder’s removal were “ambush style” and didn’t reflect the rules of the party.

The request, along with several other motions Campbell filed, is smoke and mirrors to hide the simplicity of his request to regain control the party’s Facebook page, Law said.

The filings state Yoder wants the court to reinstate her as secretary, Marleah Campbell as the auxiliary chair and Barbara Rosier-Tryon as a member of the executive committee, as well as repealing changes to the bylaws. The document requests an order demanding a meeting of the party’s central committee where they can address and vote on potential changes to bylaws and officers.

rfox@tribtoday.com

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