Silence isn’t always goldenWritten by Lisa Renee Ward | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Wade versus Iott, a 2008 civil case filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, raises questions about statements reportedly made by Ohio 9th District Congressional candidate Richard Iott.
The complaint language states that five college students entered into a lease agreement with Ian Iott, with his father Richard as a co-signer. There was a planned move-in date for the fall 2008 semester at The Ohio State University.
In August 2008, it appears Ian Iott wanted to be removed from the lease. Richard Iott communicated with one of his son’s roommates, Jared Wade, via e-mail.
The e-mail sent by Iott to Wade reportedly made statements that were described as “unacceptable threats and comments” in a complaint filed Sept. 3, 2008.
“In addition to anticipatorily breaching their obligations to Plaintiffs, and despite their obligations of good faith and fair dealing to Plaintiffs, Defendant Richard Bradley Iott has made unacceptable threats and comments to Plaintiffs, all young college students, who asked him to fulfill his written obligations, including the following comments by Mr. Iott:
- “A threat to force upon his son’s roommates another tenant ‘from a Third World nation that practices small animal sacrifices and glorify stealing as an art form:’
- “Inviting litigation, as Mr. Iott would find ‘great sport’ in causing litigants to spend more than his own contractual obligation; and
- “Attempting to intimidate his son’s college roommates to pay his obligations or face eviction.”
- Included as evidence is the Aug. 12, 2008, e-mail from Richard Iott to Wade. The e-mail address listed is one that is known as Richard Iott’s personal e-mail, it is signed, “Mr. Iott.”
It begins with complimenting Wade: “Your reply was well crafted, you could have a future in politics.” The comment about finding a tenant from a Third World nation is later made, “This is not a democracy, it is a partnership and to that end we can sublet our share to whomever will pay the rent … regardless if they are from a Third World nation that practices small animal sacrifices and glorify stealing as an art form. We may even subidize [sic] the rent just to get a renter.”
On the invitation to litigate claim, it’s stated, “I could find great sport in causing them [leasing company] to spend $15,000 to collect $7,000. It won’t happen. On the other hand, they retain a pretty heavy club over the remaining tenants … pay up or face eviction.”
The e-mail concludes with: “You guys find a tenant, we will pay the sub-tenant transfer fees and everyone is happy. The alternative is that we either find a sub-tenant from Outer Uzbekistan for you or the current tenants pick up the difference. Neither one is a good choice for you.”
Since the court case was filed, it would appear that the former roommates of Iott’s son opted for an additional choice.
None of the plaintiffs listed on the complaint nor their attorney of record, Daniel Downey, have responded to a request for a comment on this case.
The Iott campaign was contacted via the e-mail address that they state media is to use and an e-mail was sent to Richard Iott’s personal e-mail address, and the campaign has not responded.
It’s possible that, as part of the settlement, the parties involved made a promise to not speak about the case.
The online docket system for the Franklin County Common Pleas Court shows a notation on Feb. 2, 2009, “case settled entry to follow” with a later notation on March 2, 2009, “dismissal by plaintiff.”
Absent any communication from those involved, we are left with what the complaint reports: language that besmirches residents of Third World nations and an apparent attempt to intimidate.
The lack of response from Iott and his campaign is troubling. In campaigning and holding office, there are going to be times when controversies — large and small — happen. Ignoring questions doesn’t make them go away, if you want to have a future in politics.
Toledo Free Press contributor Lisa Renee Ward operates the political blog GlassCityJungle.com.