|Fair ban on couple confirmed|
|Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Farm Editor|
|Friday, 28 June 2013 09:24|
A Pemberville couple will continue to be banned from the Wood County Fair for three years, continuing through the 2015 fair.
The Wood County Agricultural Society board, better known as the Senior Fair Board, made the decision following an executive session held Thursday evening.
Linette and Dan Kemner were issued the ban in October based on reported actions during the 2012 fair. In March the Kemners filed a civil lawsuit against the board in the U.S. District Court located in Toledo.
On Thursday, the Kemners, along with their attorney, Robert Searfoss III, were in attendance at the monthly meeting of the fair board asking for a reconsideration on the ban.
Searfoss presented each board member with a packet of six letters outlining the events of Aug. 2, 2012, from each of the writer's perspectives. Linette Kemner addressed the board, as did one of the letter writers and three other individuals with some knowledge of the events.
Briefly, three male teens were accused of poor conduct including making fun of a female teen's lamb and spitting on that lamb during or following one of the sheep events. Those accused deny any wrong actions and claim they were never given an opportunity to defend themselves against what they view as faulty accusations.
The ban was only ordered for the couple who later filed the lawsuit. There was no ban on any of the youth involved to whatever extent in the events of the night in question.
Richard King, fair manager, is also named individually in the lawsuit, as is Jayne Roth, OSU Extension educator and supervisor for the Wood County 4-H and Junior Fair program.
Though initially there was no ban, on Aug. 4, the Kemners were notified they were not to be on the fairgrounds for the remainder of the 2012 fair.
In October the board, following an executive session, issued the additional three-year ban for the couple. King said the board's decision was based upon information from deputies of the Wood County Sheriff's office who were part of the investigation of the alleged incidents on Aug. 2.
Regarding Thursday night's events, the board elected to go into executive session following the regular business meeting to discuss legal matters pertaining to this case.
After returning to open session the board voted unanimously to uphold its original ban of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit through the 2015 fair.
The supporting letters as well as the speakers at the board meeting were all very consistent in their accusations that Roth acted unprofessionally in her actions on the night in question.
Linette Kemner said the bans and "retaliation" began after she called Roth's supervisor in Columbus on Aug. 3.
"Everything was fine until I called Columbus," she said. "The whole thing could have been handled in a more professional way."
"We're asking to revisit the ban," Searfoss said in his remarks to the board.
He asked the board members to think about how much they actually know regarding what took place at the sheep show arena on the night in question.
Lori Tuck told the board, "It seemed to me like there was a vendetta against the Kemners."
King, citing the pending lawsuit, was not able to discuss any particulars in the case.
In the suit, the Kemners allege the board, King and Roth "violated the plaintiff's constitutional right to due process of the law" as they are guaranteed by both the fifth and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution, as well as the Ohio Constitution.
The suit alleges by virtue of the ban, the Kemners have been damaged.
The suit seeks monetary relief including nominal, general, compensatory and punitive damages. It also seeks injunctive relief from the suspensions or ban, thus prohibiting the ban being imposed without due process.
A jury trial has been demanded in the suit.
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