Rita Tarvin Rocket win streak reaches five G-Men ascend to 4-0 in SBAAC National Division with win at Williamsburg Jays soar to 3-1 with win at North Adams Young Lady Jays improving as season progresses Mary J Yockey Callie J Maynard Windle Blanton Daisy D Nevels RULH HS students visit Jungle Jims Aberdeen Council has busy end of the year River Village Christmas celebration begins SR 41 now open Gast’s three-point shower drowns the Tigers Lady Rockets capture wins over Ripley, Batavia Keplinger signs with Shawnee State Warriors down the Devils, fall to the Greyhounds Broncos edge out Williamsburg, 53-50 Carol S Newman John E Short RULH Elementary names ‘Go Green’ Students RE/MAX Local Experts opens in Williamsburg RULH wraps up ‘No Shave November’ fundraiser Eleven indicted by Brown County Grand Jury Donald C Vance John C Morris Rebecca E Simpson Hot start sets pace for Broncos’ 85-40 win over CNE G-Men get off to 1-1 start Lady Rockets start off season with tough string of road games Basketball Special: 2017-18 Katherine J Wolfe Virginia J Germann Rev Commadora Manning Mona K Kirker Ohio Rural Heritage Association donates to Food Pantry RULH FCCLA attends meeting in D.C. RULH MS students try ‘Tabletop Twitter’ Ripley Village Christmas update Bonita Planck Carol J Wagner Christopher O Richey Sr Five new members to enter WBHS Athletic Hall of Fame Blue Jays ready to soar under Woodward Fischer named to OPSWA All-Ohio First Team of football all-stars High school girls’ hoop action kicks off in Brown County Formation of new joint Fire & EMS District discussed RULH students learn about ‘Global Food’ Personal financial management class at RULH High School Dale G Ferriel John E Slack Nicholas A Arthur Bonnie J Roush Charles E Faul Phyllis A Mills Carl L Watson Marc W Bolce Robert R Moore Robert K King June R Williams William T Ishmael Sr Deborah J Napier High school hoop action begins Fayetteville SAY Girls Wing Soccer Team finishes season among state’s Final Four Devils visit Georgetown for OHSAA Foundation Games Grandfather charged in boy’s death ‘Real Money’ at RULH Middle School Ripley High School celebrates Veterans Day Reward increases for information leading to conviction in Stykes’ murder Ripley Village Christmas update Kenneth M McKinley Vilvens signs with Mount St. Joseph SBAAC awards girls tennis all-stars Layman inducted into Miami University Athletic Hall of Fame SBAAC hands out awards to First Team girls’ soccer all-stars John D Marks Aberdeen Police Department receives ‘Shop With a Cop’ donation Benefit to take place Nov. 17 for Grace Copple St. Michael students take part in Community Soup Supper Voters return Worley to the bench Ruby A Ratliff Donna J Moore Stella M Glasscock Ellen L Gelter Alverda T Guillermin Justin N Beach EHS dedicates ‘Kiser Court’ SBAAC awards First Team football all-stars, winning teams Sizer earns SBAAC American Division Volleyball Player of Year honors for 3rd straight year Broncos to host Blue Jays for OHSAA ‘Jimmy Young’ Foundation Game, Nov. 17 Vern W Kidd Jr Brown County Election Results – 2017 Michael D Hines Raymond W Napier Leslie E Boyle Gary L Barber RULH NHS welcomes new inductees K-9 Units and handlers visit RULH High School EMS members honored for service Road work on Ripley streets to begin

Coroner, county at odds again

Thomas Eagle, left, and Brown County Coroner Dr. Judith Varnau, appear in court in this file photo.

Brown County Coroner Dr. Judith Varnau is likely heading back to court again, though this time it’s over a dispute for her attorney’s legal fees.

Varnau’s attorney, Thomas Eagle, is requesting more than $18,000 in additional compensation from the Brown County Commissioners for his work defending Varnau in Steve Adamson et. al. v. Judith Varnau, which went through both the Brown County Court of Common Pleas and Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals.

The commissioners, who have paid Eagle $10,800 for his work defending Varnau in the trial court, have countered by claiming that $4,000 is a reasonable compensation for Eagle’s work during the appeal process.

Eagle and the commissioners met recently to try and hash out terms but were unable to reach an agreement, leading to the latest legal maneuvers.

“We’ve come to an impasse over the amount the funds should be, and we’ll let the court resolve that,” Eagle told The Ripley Bee.

On June 19, the commissioners’ attorney, John Woliver, filed a memorandum in response to a motion filed on June 2 by Eagle to recoup fees he believes are unpaid. In Eagle’s motion, he claims the commissioners owe him the entirety of the 29,950.58 in billable hours, of which only 10,800 has been paid, but the commissioners stated they believe the extra $18,150.58 Eagle claims is owed to him is an unreasonable amount.

The commissioners’ memorandum states they’re only willing to pay $4,000 on top of the $10,800 already paid, citing a Brown County Court of Common Pleas order to hire a special prosecuting attorney for Varnau that is at the “discretion of the board of county commissioners,” including terms and fees.

“The appeal, considering that the issues were not terribly substantial on the appeal and he did do the trial so he was familiar with the issues, facts, and evidence, we thought that $4,000 was a reasonable upper limit to put on this,” Woliver told the Bee. “It also recognizes that the commissioners don’t have this massive pocket of which to pay public officials attorneys as they do what seems to be intra-county battles, which are more personality and ego and self benefit than anything.”

The commissioners originally agreed with Eagle to pay him a maximum of $10,000 for the trial court work, but they gave him an additional $800 for his work anyway.

“We let him have a little override on the $800, but he’s wanting that $18,000 to cover the appeals court case that he had,” Brown County Commissioner Daryll Gray told the Bee. ” We’re not willing to pay that and we went back and told him he had to get a court order for that. We said we’ll give him $4,000, we were advised on that.”

The motions are filed in connection with the now-defeated complaint against Varnau filed by Steve Adamson and his family on April 16, 2014. The Adamsons alleged that Varnau committed multiple cases of misfeasance, nonfeasance, and malfeasance in her position as county coroner, and they asked for the Brown County Court of Common Pleas to remove her from her position.

After a two-day trial in May 2014, visiting Judge John Kessler ruled in favor of the coroner. On July 22, the Adamsons, through their lawyer, Tracy Hawkins, filed an appeal to the Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals. A trial was held on Nov. 18, 2014, and the court of appeals made its decision on Dec. 30, ruling again in favor of the coroner and asking for the case to be dismissed.

Prior to the start of the trial, Kessler approved a request from Brown County Prosecutor Jessica Little to recuse herself due to conflicts of interest, and instead allow the commissioners to appoint a special prosecutor, citing Ohio Revised Code statutes 305.14 (A) and 309.09.

The commissioners agreed to let Varnau retain Eagle as her lawyer, but only pay him at a rate of $180 per hour, as opposed to Eagle’s standard rate of $235 per hour.

In Eagle’s motion, he states that the court of common pleas ordered he be retained and after working both the defenses in the trial court and appeals court, Eagle feels he should be compensated fully. He’s asking for another $18,150.58 from the county.

In the main body of the commissioner’s memorandum memorandum, which is titled “Defendant (Varnau) does not possess an unlimited right to be compensated for her attorney fees in an amount set by defendant or her attorney,” Woliver states that the commissioners don’t have unlimited resources for Varnau’s legal fees, having spent $12,500 in private legal fees for legal battles between Varnau’s husband Dennis and the Brown County Sheriff Dwayne Wenninger.

The commissioners’ memorandum requests for the court to agree that the rate of $180 per hour and maximum limit of $4,000 is reasonable.

Woliver believes the case is likely to go to court. If and when it does, Kessler would sit on the bench for the trial.

Reach Daniel Karell at 937-378-6161. Follow him on Twitter @GNDKarell

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