Thursday, April 15, 2004

Frustrated solicitor exits post

By Liz Oakes
The Cincinnati Enquirer

ELMWOOD PLACE - The embattled village's solicitor has told a council he called "extremely dysfunctional" that he plans to resign May 1.

Stewart Mathews had served the village as solicitor and prosecutor since the 1990s. At Tuesday night's meeting, council voted 4-2 to accept his resignation.

In his resignation letter, dated March 26, Mathews complained he hadn't been reimbursed for work in January, February and March, as well as court costs he's paid out of pocket. Elmwood Place officials said the village owed him more than $4,000.

Meanwhile, the village's code of ordinances is in "dire need of updating," Mathews wrote.

Elmwood Place should amend its building code, as well as finish a new tax ordinance, and traffic laws need to be "completely overhauled," Mathews wrote.

He also cited what he called officials' "personal agendas," pointing to the village's legal fight against Paul Corbeil.

Corbeil is suing the Hamilton County village after being demoted in January from police lieutenant to sergeant to save money.

Fighting the lawsuit, Mathews wrote, will cost more in attorney fees than Elmwood Place would save by not paying a lieutenant's salary.

"It is becoming more and more apparent to me that this council is extremely dysfunctional, and this will lead to nothing but bad things for the village of Elmwood," he wrote.

Elmwood Place Mayor Barney Philpot said the village recently paid Mathews' January, February and March bills.

Money isn't the issue, Philpot said; "it's politics."

Councilman Randall Grandstaff said he agreed "100 percent" with Mathews' assessment of the village.

"I don't blame Stew for leaving," Grandstaff said.

"We're now in our fourth month and we have yet to have a finance meeting."

Mathews could not be reached for comment.


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