Tuesday, October 7, 2003

Warren candidate accused

Prosecutor hopeful faces election charges

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LEBANON - David Fornshell of Mason wants to be Warren County prosecutor - but he faces allegations that his campaign materials are misleading.

The Ohio Elections Commission has found "probable cause" that Fornshell's materials violated state elections laws. As of Monday, no hearing had been set, said Philip C. Richter, elections commission executive director.

The commission's action last month came in response to a complaint that Matthew Nolan, campaign manager of the Keep Rachel Hutzel Prosecutor Committee, lodged Aug. 30.

T-shirts, magnetic signs on cars and business cards described Fornshell as "Republican, Conservative, Prosecutor," Nolan said.

"There is no additional language that correctly indicates that Mr. Fornshell does not currently hold the title of Warren County Prosecutor - the office for which he is running," Nolan wrote. "Accordingly, the use of the term, 'prosecutor,' is also false and misleading."

Fornshell, in a telephone interview Monday, said he and his campaign committee quickly changed the materials to add the word, "for" in front of "prosecutor," after someone raised concerns. "We actually stopped the printing of some of the materials mid-stream," he said.

Fornshell said he never had any intention to mislead anyone. He also said he has prosecuted hundreds of misdemeanor cases as a part-time prosecutor for the City of Blue Ash in Hamilton County, so it's accurate for him to label himself as a prosecutor.

"Legally speaking, there's nothing wrong with that sign or logo," he said.

Fornshell narrowly lost a bid for the prosecutor's post earlier this year. Republican leaders chose Hutzel as replacement for Tim Oliver, who received a governor's appointment to the county Domestic Relations bench.

Neither Hutzel nor Don McTigue, a Columbus lawyer who represents Nolan, could be reached for comment Monday.


E-mail jmorse@enquirer.com

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