East Ridge ouster suit in court

East Ridge ouster suit in court

March 31st, 2009 by Elizabeth Ryan in Local Regional News

Witnesses are testifying today in the ouster suit against East Ridge Mayor Mike Steele.

The mayor is in Hamilton County Criminal court before Judge Don Poole to respond to the petition for his ouster.

At least 20 witnesses are expected to testify.

The ouster suit filed last fall by East Ridge residents alleged Mr. Steele usurped his powers outlined in the City Charter by setting up an office and hiring employees.

In a court appearance in mid-December, Hamilton County Attorney Bill Cox said there was no criminal evidence against Mr. Steele and refused to help the citizens' group pursue its case.

The group's attorney said he had thoroughly reviewed the group's evidence against Mr. Steele and believes their case has merit.

An amended petition also accuses Mr. Steele of attempting to gain a business advantage for himself by proposing the city use payroll services provided by Payroll Professionals Inc., a business his critics say he was associated with.