Friday, May 10, 2002

Furor's players have interlinked history

By Gregory Korte,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Lawson v. Reece, the lawsuit at the center of allegations that Cincinnati Vice Mayor Alicia Reece abused her power, includes a cast of characters well-known to those who have followed the news over the past year.

        • Plaintiff Angela Leisure is the mother of Timothy Thomas, the 19-year-old shot and killed by Cincinnati police last year after a lengthy foot chase with officers. It was his death that sparked the April 2001 riots.

        She is suing the city for the wrongful death of her son, and is seeking $10 million.

        • Her lawyer, Kenneth L. Lawson, is a local defense attorney who represented the pro-boycott Black United Front in its racial profiling lawsuit against the city. Joining him in Lawson v. Reece are two civil rights lawyers who also were party to the racial profiling suit: Scott Greenwood of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, and Alphonse Gerhardstein.

        • Alicia Reece is the vice mayor. She is an outspoken opponent of the boycott and objected to paying legal fees to Mr. Lawson, Mr. Greenwood and Mr. Gerhardstein when the racial profiling case was settled.

        • Her father, Steven Reece Sr., owns Integrity Hall Conference and Banquet Center in Bond Hill. Long active in politics, he was an aide to former mayor Ted Berry and serves as his daughter's closest adviser.

        • James Washington owns Washington Limousine Service in Walnut Hills. He is a long-time friend and business associate of the Reeces.

        He also has a history with Mr. Lawson. Last year, he posted $250,000 bond for a Lawson client, Tony Ringer, a prominent downtown barber accused of killing his girlfriend and her unborn child. When Mr. Washington later asked that his bond be released, Mr. Ringer was taken back into custody — reportedly infuriating Mr. Lawson.


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