MACEDONIA -- A city resident called for a public hearing to investigate whether Council President Nick Molnar "is fit" to serve the city as a Council member after leaving his day job under disputed terms nearly a year ago.
Counicilor Jan Tulley said it isn't the practice of City Council to hold public hearings while there is pending litigation and that such matters would be discussed in executive session. She also said she hasn't had any residents in the past nine months indicate to her that Molnar's departure from his former job was an issue.
Resident George Pla asked for the hearing during the regular city Council meeting Feb. 23 based on Molnar's departure from his former position as a Service Director for the city of Green.
An April 26, 2016, letter from Green Mayor Gerard Neugebauer states Molnar resigned from the city of Green, effective April 30, 2016. The letter also states it rescinds an April 5, 2016, letter "which sought to terminate" Molnar's employment with the city of Green.
Pla asked Macedonia Council Vice President Kevin Bilkie to convene a public hearing to discuss "the evidence related to Mr. Molnar's [departure] from the city of Green," and said that the residents should determine whether Molnar remains on Council.
According to the Macedonia charter, a Council member can only be removed by the four remaining Council members after a public hearing.
Molnar said during the Feb. 23 meeting that he believes he is being "attacked" for political reasons.
"This ongoing attack is personal, its political, its out of hand," Molnar said. "I have never said one word to that man (Pla) outside of the one time he stood at that podium and attacked me, and yet here I am sitting here being attacked again."
A call to Molnar's attorney L. Bryan Carr was not returned by press time.
At the meeting, Pla alleged Molnar showed a fellow employees in Green a "profanity laden" video "with racial overtones." Bilkie said the YouTube video in question, titled "Bait Bike in the Hood," doesn't have racial overtones.
Pla said he feels Molnar has been "lying" to residents making him "unfit" to be a Council member.
The April 26, 2016, letter stated the city of Green would "destroy all copies" of the April 5 letter. In January, Molnar filed a complaint in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas against Neugebauer, the City of Green, Green's Law Director Diane Calta and WOIO TV Channel 19 in which Molnar was seeking an injunction against the city and the television station from retaining/distributing or publicizing the April 5 letter and is seeking damages in excess of $25,000. The pending lawsuit cites breach of contract, negligence and defamation against the parties involved. On Feb. 27, Molnar dropped the injunction request against the city and dismissed claims against the television station.
Molnar said during the Feb. 23 meeting that he could not comment on the complaint.
Mayor Joe Migliorini said he feels Pla's complaint is a "quid pro quo" following a 2013 lawsuit Pla filed against the city of Macedonia. In the compaint, Councilor Sylvia Hanneken had been deposed regarding the city's treatment of a real estate issue. The lawsuit was dismissed in February 2016 by a federal judge.
"I think it's a quid pro quo for her testifying in that case that he is now attacking our members of Council," Migliorini said.
Hanneken said she just responded to a subpoena and answered the questions she was asked.
"I was asked to testify about what was said in my presence by the mayor and a previous councilperson and I so testified and gave the facts I heard. That's all I did," Hanneken said. "I did not testify on any other issue, I was not asked to testify on any other issue so it is completely wrong to say I testified for Mr. Pla."
Briana Barker: 330-541-9432