“It was never my intention to cause chaos,” he said.
The Scioto County Board of Elections in April ruled that Loper was not a resident of the 1st Ward. He planned to appeal that ruling to either the Scioto County Prosecutor or a higher court.
But he said the cost of the appeal could well exceed $5,000, which is one of the reasons he resigned. Loper cited the controversy surrounding his residency status as another reason.
“I'm not quitting as far as checking into city government,” Loper said. “It just gives me a free hand where I don't have microphones in my face all the time.”
In fact, Loper said he may run for mayor in 2008.
“There's a lot of businessmen who wanted to back me this time for it,” Loper said. “But I didn't think I had the education for it, and I didn't have the knowledge. But after seeing the ones that are running the city, I think I'm just as knowledgeable as anyone else.”
City Council must now find a replacement from a list of applicants for Loper's vacant seat.
He took office in 2004 after former councilwoman Ann Sydnor was recalled. He was elected to his own term in November 2004.
Ward resident Robert Forrey challenged Loper's residency, saying he actually lives on Pleasant Avenue, which is in the 6th Ward.
Loper said he moved to Pleasant Avenue in October from 114 Madison St. But he said he rents an apartment from Ted Journey at 519 1/2 Third St. and plans to move into it after renovations on it are complete.
Loper said he was following Kuhn's advice by claiming the Third Street address. Kuhn testified on Loper's behalf at the elections board hearing.
Loper said he had problems with the Concerned Citizens Group of Portsmouth and Scioto County because he didn't vote along with Councilman Bob Mollette. Loper said pressure to vote the way the group wanted him to was the same as bribery. Loper was often the subject of a local Web site and those who post on its message board.
“This is no different than you coming up and handing me $100 for my vote than it is to threaten my vote,” Loper said. “There's no difference. They may justify it in their mind and they may say it's right, but it's the same system. You're just using different tactics, and I would not play along with it.”
JEFF BARRON can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.