2010-02-20 / News

Acord responds to residency complaint

By Charles Prince

JACKSONTOWN – Licking Township Trustee Ron Acord recently formally responded to charges former Trustee John Holman made about his residency status.

Acord, a six term incumbent, was defeated two years ago by challenger Joe Hart. Holman was appointed last year to fill the rest of Joe Cooper’s term through 2009 after Cooper moved to Tennessee. Acord challenged Holman and Trustee Dave Miller in the Nov. 3 election. Acord came in second with 772 votes to 963 for Miller. Holman was third in the race for two positions with 669 votes.

Holman publicly read his 2 1/2 page complaint at the trustees’ Dec. 7 meeting. After consulting with the Licking County Board of Elections and Prosecutor’s office, Ohio Secretary of State’s office and the Ohio Ethics Commission, he said he was advised to file a formal complaint with the Board of Trustees and the Board of Elections. His statement alleged that Acord was living outside of Licking Township when he applied to fill Cooper’s seat and was living outside the township during the petitioning process, the Nov. 3 election and was currently living outside Licking Township. The complaint said Acord had been living for “an unspecified and extended period of time” in the Village of Buckeye Lake with Sheila F. Lyons.

Acord told The Beacon he was “speechless” after learning of the complaint from a reporter. He promised to fight it. Acord retained Granville attorney Gregory C. Helser to investigate and rebut the allegations. Helser concluded Homan’s allegations were not grounded upon statutory or common law.

In a February 5 press release, Acord said he has resided at 46 Chowning Street in Licking Township since 1971 and had married Sheila Lyons in November, 2008. Lyons has owned a home in the Village of Buckeye Lake for 16 years.

Acord said Lyons had surgery in August of 2008 and July of 2009, which kept her from climbing stairs or lifting heavy objects during an extended recovery. “Yes, it is true I assisted my wife following her surgery at the Buckeye Lake address,” Acord stated in the release. “However, she was unable to rehabilitate at my home on Chowning Street as it is a two story home with the bedrooms on the second floor.” He added that he was at his Chowning Street address on a daily basis.

Acord said he became aware Holman was following him and his wife and called it “an invasion of our privacy.”

After Holman’s allegations were published, Acord believed Licking Township residents deserved a response to the “baseless allegations.” He wants to put the questions about his residency behind him and “serve the people of Licking Township to the best of my ability.”

The Licking County Board of Elections did not hold a hearing on Holman’s complaint, stating that it was filed outside a 50-day window for such actions. A recent Supreme Court of Ohio decision in Husted v. Brunner ruled that State Senator Jon A. Husted is a resident of Montgomery County for election purposes even though he lives with his wife and children in Franklin County. A key issue, according to the decision, is the intention of returning provision as outlined in ORC 3503.02(A).

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