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Ex-councilman won’t appeal turbine suit

LORDSTOWN – Former Village Councilman Stanley Zoldan said he won’t appeal a ruling from an appellate court that dismisses former Mayor Michael Chaffee from liability in Zoldan’s lawsuit over the wind turbines he deliberately shut off.

“I’m not appealing. It’s all over with,” Zoldan said Monday.

A recent ruling from the 11th District Court of Appeals said Chaffee should have been afforded immunity as a matter of law and sent the case back to Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Andrew Logan.

Logan originally dismissed the village from Zoldan’s lawsuit, but allowed Chaffee to remain in the case. Zoldan eventually lost an appeal to keep the village in the lawsuit and Chaffee’s cross complaint seeking immunity was granted by appellate judges.

The case goes back to April 5, 2011, when Zoldan, then a village councilman, turned off new twin turbines that partly powered the administration building. He claimed the turbines were unsafe and they hadn’t been properly inspected.

Village officials turned the power back on the same day. Zoldan was arrested on a felony charge of disrupting public service.

Zoldan sued the village and Chaffee in November 2012 over his arrest on claims of malicious prosecution and abuse of process. Logan threw out Zoldan’s claims of defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress that the judge said were time-barred by a one-year statute of limitation.

The former councilman said he filed the lawsuit because instead of giving him a court summons, village officials opted to have him arrested and taken into custody in handcuffs. He had to post a $5,000 bond. The lawsuit states Zoldan was “fingerprinted, photographed and his personal information was permanently entered into databases of arrestees.”

After the lawsuit was filed, the charge against Zoldan was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor before it was dismissed in January of 2012.

Niles Municipal Court officials, where the case was transferred, said since Zoldan cut off the power to the turbines and not to the Administration Building, the charge didn’t rise to the seriousness of a felony.