''Nicole Klingeman deserves to have her job back, but David DeChristofaro deserves to lose his. The only honorable thing left for DeChristofaro to do is resign before he embarrasses Trumbull County taxpayers any further.''
That was Cleveland-area attorney Subodh Chandra on the offensive in August 2010, demanding that Trumbull County's former engineer, DeChristofaro, step down.
Chandra made the call while he litigated a retaliation lawsuit on behalf of Nicole Klingeman, who DeChristofaro fired after he took office in 2009. Klingeman claimed her being let go was because she supported DeChristofaro's opponent, Randy Smith, the engineer now.
She returned to her job after a challenge to her employee classification was dropped.
Chandra also represented a man from Niles who sued to have DeChristofaro removed from office.
DeChristofaro resigned in July 2011, which stopped the civil lawsuit seeking his removal, and soon thereafter, he pleaded guilty to ethics charges that he used the office for personal and political gain. The charges stemmed from a probe of DeChristofaro's actions by the Ohio Ethics Commission and Ohio Attorney General's Office.
Now Chandra finds himself playing defense as Smith's attorney.
He's fending off a call for Smith to step down, at least temporarily, during an investigation of his actions by the Ethics Commission, which searched the engineer's office April 3.
The call for Smith to move aside was made a week after the search by Patricia Hale Paridon, a Republican running for a county commissioner seat. She even asked county Commissioner Frank Fuda, running in May's Democratic primary, to join her in the demand. He is not.
It was a political move made by Paridon, who is supporting Fuda's Democratic challenger, Lisha Pompili-Baumiller of Hubbard, but still one that needed defense from Smith, who deferred to Chandra. He called the request a ''desperate and defamatory cry for attention.''
''Engineer Smith is fully cooperating with the investigation and is confident, as am I, that once all the facts are known, both the investigators and the public will understand that there is no violation of the public trust,'' Chandra said.
That will be seen at the conclusion of the Ethics Commission investigation.
Some of the information sought dealt with a potential business association between Smith and a former top aide of his, Donald Barzak; private work done by Smith for the Trumbull County Health Department after he became engineer; and his role in the regulatory compliance and oversight of oil and gas companies operating on Trumbull County roads.