Democratic candidate for Scioto County Sheriff and captain of the New Boston Police Department, Steve Goins says he has retained counsel to demand incumbent Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini to retract a letter and an accusation he made against Goins on Facebook. The accusation says Goins was breaking the law by posting his election signs in the Village of New Boston. The problem is the ordinance Donini cited was repealed in June.
“I have retained counsel (attorney) on my behalf and they’re going to be asking him (Donini) to retract that statement and send that to everybody,” Goins said. “One – it’s not true and if he don’t want to retract all that and says – ‘they should have updated this or that,’ but that isn’t the point. It’s his job. He could have picked that phone up and called the prosecutor or any other officer in this county to get the legal opinion on it and he would have been told that ordinance has been repealed. We don’t have it anymore. He didn’t wait to get an answer before he plastered that on Facebook Saturday morning. That took off viral.”
Goins said if Donini doesn’t want to retract the letter or the posting, he will take him (Donini) to court and also file a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission. He called the posting – “a false statement.”
The Daily Times sought a reaction from Donini.
“I’m not sorry for what I said. I’m not apologizing, because to do so would be admitting wrong,” Donini said. “I didn’t do anything wrong. I don’t know that I will retract it. I don’t know that I should retract it.”
In a letter to New Boston Mayor Junior Williams and Village Solicitor Justin Blume, Donini cited a Village Ordinance (1341.03 (g), that prohibits anyone from posting a political sign 60 days immediately preceding any general election, “and to do so would would be a criminal violation in accordance with penalty section 1341.99.”
The Daily Times did talk to Bloom.
“If I remember correctly, we had someone question the constitutionality of that section,” Blume said. “I was asked to review it and I did and gave them the legal opinion that the complaint likely had merit, such as an attack on free speech and things like that, so based upon that, I made the recommendation that it either needed to be modified or repealed, and they chose to repeal.”
However Donini said he got the information about the ordinance from the New Boston website. So armed with the new information, and the threat of legal action, Donini said he does not believe he has done anything wrong.
“I wish it hadn’t happened,” Donini said. “And had I had the accurate information on that day (Aug. 15, 2016) that letter would have never ever been written. It’s pretty sad that he’s got to go get an attorney, knowing I didn’t do anything intentionally or maliciously. Just because an attorney tells me to apologize or whatever, no. It doesn’t work that way. I didn’t do anything wrong and I’m not apologizing for it because that means I did something wrong. I didn’t do anything wrong.”
“It doesn’t necessarily have to be false,” Goins said. “Reckless disregard. Whether it’s false or not, it’s a statement designed to defeat me.”
“I didn’t do anything to defame his character. Look up the definition of defamation,” Donini said. He said he put the information out based on the Village of New Boston’s website.
According to Cornell Law School, defamation is a statement that injures a third party’s reputation. The tort of defamation includes both libel (written statements) and slander (spoken statements). To win a defamation case, a plaintiff must show four things: 1) a false statement purporting to be fact; 2) publication or communication of that statement to a third person; 3) fault amounting to at least negligence; and 4) damages, or some harm caused to the person or entity who is the subject of the statement.
In a response posting on Facebook, Goins went after Donini’s past.
“In 1996 before Donini ran for county sheriff and got elected for the first time, he worked at Portsmouth Municipal Court and before filing petitions to run for Sheriff he had Municipal Court expunge two adult criminal arrest records that he had. I have never had to expunge any criminal arrest record before I chose to run for Sheriff. Now what does that tell you?”
Donini responded that Goins is a “negative individual.”
“Why is he bringing that (expungement) up if he’s so up above?” Donini told the Daily Times. “That was something that was taken care of 13 years ago when they had the expungement hearing. Why is he bringing that up? Because that’s who he is. Everything on his website is negative, negative, negative.”
The two will square off on Nov. 8, 2016.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.