A band of five members of the Ohio Republican Party’s Central Committee filed suit against the Ohio Republican Party, Party Chairman Robert A. Paduchik and Party Treasurer David W. Johnson November 29 at the Franklin County Courthouse petitioning for the court to grant their four requests:
- An injunction against Paduchik and or a temporary restraining order stopping him from reassigning members of the party’s Central Committee from their subcommittees or otherwise reorganizing the Central Committee outside the process set out in the party rules;
- Production and recovery of financial documents for a court-ordered forensic audit of the party’s books going back to the party’s fiscal year 2017, or going back as far as necessary to track down impropriety and illegality;
- Accountability and transparency sufficient to make auditable books and records that the petitioners claim has not been accomplished in 12 years, leaving the party with entirely corrupted and un-audited financial records; and
- The party’s adoption of the necessary management and officer accountability and an investigation towards the recovery of funds illegally transferred or converted from the party.
The five plaintiffs: Mark A. Bainbridge, JoAnn Campbell, Joe Miller, Laura Rosenberger, and Denise Verdi, said they were all ordered off their subcommittee assignments by Paduchik after they attempted to look into the party’s financial records.
The five also requested that the lawsuit be heard in court before a jury.
Rosenberger, who actually filed the suit at the courthouse and was taken off the Audit Subcommittee by Pudachik, said she and her other plaintiffs are trying to save the Ohio Republican Party.
The 26-page petition to the court claimed that Rosenberger’s removal along with the others as punishment. The petition and other information about the lawsuit are available at the plaintiffs’ website: ORPAccountability.com.
“In violation of party bylaws, all five plaintiffs were removed from their respective ORP subcommittee positions by Paduchik in recent months, as a result of retaliation for questioning his failed leadership and financial mismanagement,” according to the lawsuit filing. The suit also asked the court to reinstate the plaintiffs to their subcommittee assignments.
The plaintiffs also claim Paduchik improperly backed candidates who were unendorsed by the state party and improperly reorganized state party leadership he received complaints about his leadership.
Rosenberger said, “After years of failure and millions of dollars gone missing, it’s time for new leadership at the Ohio Republican Party.”
“I don’t know all the details, but I believe we just need to let things take their course and work towards a strong Republican Party,” he said. “As a successful businessman and an outsider in politics, I do believe transparency is always best.”
In addition to the demands for readdressing from the court, the lawsuit makes specific claims of financial mismanagement and significant amounts of funds unaccounted for in the party’s financial statements and without explanation.
According to the filing, these claims include $1.7 million that disappeared in 2017, $437,000 that disappeared in 2019 and $638,000 listed in Accounts Receivable in 2017 and 2018 but were written off in 2021.
In 2021, an additional $271,000 was also unaccounted for, which brings the total missing or unaccounted for from the party’s books to more than $3 million, the court filing states.
“As proud Republicans who believe in fiscal conservatism, we won’t rest until Robert Paduchik, and his enablers answer for their utter ineptitude and abandon the positions of power they never should’ve had,” Rosenberger said. “The millions of Republicans across our state deserve accountability, and we are demanding it on their behalf. The Ohio Republican Party needs to be saved from within.”
In a statement released after the suit was filed, the plaintiffs said they sent a formal demand letter to Paduchik, requesting he work with them to remedy his improper conduct. Still, the chairman did not take the opportunity to work with them.
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Neil W. McCabe is the national political editor of the The Star News Network. Follow him on Twitter: @neilwmcccabe2.