By Whitney Vickers
XENIA — Xenia Councilman Dale Louderback and former Xenia Councilman John Caupp are asking for an apology and a form of compensation following a council inquiry and investigation by the Ohio Ethics Commission.
The inquiry led to a public reprimand, but the ethics commission said the pair did not violate any laws.
“John and I want to be compensated,” Louderback said during the Thursday, Aug. 25 council meeting. “And how much money can you put on a person’s reputation?”
The pair announced more than a year ago that they planned to invest in a project that would would bring an entertainment center to Xenia Towne Square, and work for the developer that would also create a movie theatre in the same neighborhood. However, they later announced that they would cease their involvement with the project following guidance from the city law director and city manager after it was found that it would be a conflict of interest, according to a statement by Caupp.
Council President Michael Engle said after finding out they were involved in the project that he had spoken to the former council vice president Josh Long and the city manager Brent Merriman, in which they decided that it was appropriate to inquire with legal council whether there was an ethics issue at hand.
Engle said this led to an investigation that revealed that Caupp and Louderback had been working on this project before alerting council of their involvement. However, Caupp’s statement said council assumed, following their announcement of omission from the project, that they had done something wrong and started the investigation and that thousands of tax funds had been spent in the process while he and Louderback spent thousands of their own dollars for legal fees.
Caupp believes, according to his statement, that council violated Ohio Sunshine Laws through this process.
A three-day inquiry took place as a result of these happenings, which found that Caupp and Louderback had violated city charter and were publicly reprimanded.
As for the compensation, Engle outlined steps the pair should take.
“Councilman if you desire compensation, I request that you put that request in writing, address it to the city manager, provide a detailed notification of why you believe you require compensation,” he said. “The city manager and staff will review and will present it to council for consideration.”