Letters to the Editor—Chagrin Valley Times, March 5, 2020

Grant hinges on levy passage

First of all, I would like to express sincere gratitude to all of the Russell residents who have fought so hard to save our open spaces and parks. Because of your efforts, we were able to stop the underhanded sale and development of our land that was initiated after Judge Timothy Grendell removed our trustworthy park board and replaced them with those willing to do his bidding.

We watched as we were repeatedly misled about their intentions with our parks. We listened while we were boldly lied to and told that the park board account did not have enough remaining funds to maintain our parks, when in reality there was plenty, over $125,000, to fund the parks for the next three years.  We took action and voted in a new, better and honest park board that Judge Grendell has absolutely no control over and is run exclusively by Russell residents and its trustees.

March 17 is the final step to ensure that Russell stays green forever and a legacy for generations to come. Please vote yes for our 1-mill levy for the Russell Citizens Park board. And as a bonus, if the levy passes, we will be able to acquire a beautiful 64-acre property on Music Street that adjoins West Woods in which 3/4 of the purchase price is being paid for by a clean water grant. This large grant is entirely dependent on the passing of the levy, so I encourage everyone to get out there and vote yes to help ensure that our property values stay high and Russell stays green.

Sharmyn Clark

Chagrin Falls

Better oversight needed

Last week’s newspapers had a very troubling article about the possible taking of funds by an attorney who was appointed guardian by the probate court and under its supervision. It seems that funds were taken from some of the most vulnerable people in our county.

How could this have happened? How could there have been so little oversight in the probate court of Judge Timothy Grendell that funds were misappropriated from multiple accounts? Shouldn’t the court have known and reported this situation to law enforcement?  Eventually estates of many of our friends or loved ones may come before the probate court. Geauga taxpayers have the right to expect better oversight from probate Judge Grendell.

Tony Festa

Russell Township

Integrity matters

In response to the full-page ad in favor of Judge Timothy Grendell in the Times, you claim, based on Matt Rambo’s voting record that he is “not a real Republican and it is dishonest for him to claim to be one.” You’re attempting to delegitimize Matt Rambo’s campaign because he switched parties. Really? Does your line of reasoning also apply to President Donald Trump? He was a Democrat for years yet switched parties to run as a Republican. Being a Republican yourself, I’m assuming you voted for Trump. So, does it really matter to you if a candidate switches party affiliation, or are you just being petty?

In budget year 2018, the last available budget, it shows you spent over $1 million more than when you took office in 2011.

The mailers, “Geauga Court News,” cost more than $15,000 to produce. Five mailings have now been produced and mailed to every address in Geauga County. The total cost of these mailings will exceed $75,000. All paid for with public money.

I read in the paper that in June of 2019, you very publicly, (black robes and all), verbally berated a Chardon police officer.

In February 2015, you cited Nancy McArthur with contempt for a private email communication, according to news reports.

Your campaign signs declare “Experience Matters.” Experience may matter, but good judgment and integrity matters much more.

Betsy Kubbins


Support Rambo for judge

I am writing to urge every voter in Geauga County, regardless of which political party they have been associated with in the past, to request a Republican ballot and vote for Matthew Rambo in the race for Probate/Juvenile Court Judge. For Democratic Party voters, this means foregoing the chance to vote for your favorite candidate in the presidential primary. However, there are times when party affiliation must take a back seat to a moral imperative.

The race for Probate/Juvenile Court Judge has a real competitor for the first time since the day the current occupant of that office was appointed by Gov. Kasich. While national political races are obviously important, local judges have the ability to impact our daily lives in ways that are dramatic, immediate and potentially devastating.

For six years, the current judge has abused his office and frozen the public out of any discussion of policy concerning the public boards he is empowered to appoint. This has resulted in massive waste and misuse of funds and public assets. There have also been many stories of how he has abused his power to negatively impact families and intimidate other elected officials and public bodies.

We now have one chance to support a good and qualified candidate for Probate/Juvenile Court Judge. That candidate is Matthew Rambo. Good citizenship demands that we fight against corrupt and self-serving office holders. Today, for me, that means crossing over to the Republican Party and voting for Rambo in the Republican primary.

Frank Gwirtz

Parkman Township

Rambo best choice

Change in judicial office is sorely needed, indeed. The attack ads and robocalls in favor of the current probate/juvenile court Judge do much to show the need for this change. Ridiculous full-page ads and talk of enemies at every turn smacks of desperation by an arrogant career politician who fears losing his self-aggrandizing fiefdom. A judgeship should not be a political power base. A good judge should exhibit proper judicial temperament: patience, open-mindedness, courtesy, tact, courage, punctuality, firmness, understanding, compassion, humility and common sense.  Those qualities should be demonstrated consistently. Matthew Rambo demonstrates these qualities. Vote for Matthew Rambo in the Republican primary on March 17.

Kathryn Hanratty


Rambo supports GOP platform

Fellow, Geauga County residents, I hope that you are paying close attention to the primary election, which is fast approaching on Tuesday, March 17. Voters have a choice of casting a partisan or an issues-only ballot; however, to weigh in on county candidates, voters will need to ask for and vote a Republican Party ballot as no other party candidates filed to run. There are a few contested primary Republican races; therefore, the Geauga GOP wants voters to be informed and educated when casting their ballot, which is why we produced a candidates guide and held a candidates forum on Monday, Feb. 17. The candidates guide and a videotape of the forum can be found on our Facebook page and on our website at

Historically, our county Republican Party has chosen not to endorse in primary races because we want voters to decide who should best represent them in the county, in Columbus, and in Washington, D.C. Regrettably, some Republican candidates claim an endorsement by the Ohio Republican PAC and/or the Geauga County Republican PAC. These fake Republican PACs are not affiliated in any official way with the Republican Party, and I caution voters not to be fooled by them! They did not contact all the candidates on the ballot for their PAC endorsement; they picked the candidates they want to win.

Much noise has also been made about who is the real Republican in the judicial race between candidates Matthew Rambo and Tim Grendell. Throughout Rambo’s entire voting record beginning in the late 1990s and from 2012-2016, he was affiliated with the Republican Party for a combined total of about 18 years. For a short while, Rambo was affiliated with the Democratic Party in 2010 and in 2017 and 2018 when he was a Democratic judicial candidate. However, he has stated that he fully supports the Geauga County Republican Party platform and recently cast his early absentee ballot as a Republican. Therefore, he is a Republican.

As reported in The News-Herald, in 2008 when Tim Grendell was an Ohio State Senator, he was censured by the Lake County Republican Party for supporting Democratic candidate, Mark Schneider, who defeated incumbent Republican House Representative, Carol-Ann Schindel. Party Chairman Dale Fellows has said that the censure is still in effect to this day. Ultimately, it is up to you, the voter, to decide how much of a litmus test Republicanism matters when you cast your ballot on March 17.

I speak for our party when I say that we welcome people into our Republican tent who share our principles and our core values. President Trump was elected in 2016 when many voters crossed party lines after feeling abandoned by the Democratic Party, and I predict that they will do so again this November. This primary election is very important for the future of Geauga County, and I ask that all registered voters participate in deciding who will best represent us.

Nancy McArthur


Geauga County Republican Party Chairman

Big Brother Grendell is watching

Geauga County Probate and Juvenile Judge Timothy Grendell’s unjudicial behavior hit a low point last week when he gleefully reported that he knew the political affiliation of residents who have his opponent Matthew Rambo’s signs in their yards. He made this statement both at the Geauga Tea Party candidate’s night (video posted online) and at The Plain Dealer editorial board’s interview to determine endorsement in the Geauga Juvenile/Probate judge race. (They endorsed Matthew Rambo).

How the heck would he know that without doing a drive by, checking addresses, matching them to property owners, then checking their voting history?  Is he in the surveillance business?  At the candidate’s night event he also said that signs were in a yard of a person who had appeared in his courtroom regarding a juvenile case as well as another person who had a history of drug use. In my opinion, this is a blatant violation of judicial ethics.

 But wait – perhaps he didn’t look them up – perhaps this was done by his constable or his court administrator – both positions paid for by public funds. It takes a long time to drive up and down every road in the county. Were they reimbursed for mileage?

Are voters in Geauga County going to continue to tolerate this kind of invasion of privacy? Are voters in Geauga County going to continue to look the other way and value his name recognition  over his self-aggrandizing arrogance.

Let’s stop this madness. Vote for a change. Vote for Matt Rambo for Judge  March 17 Republican primary.

Barbara Partington

Munson Township

Seek judicial temperament

On March 17, we, the voters of Geauga County, have the opportunity to end what has been an ongoing and expensive public embarrassment for us for far too long. We can end the reign of interference and judicial abuse by Tim Grendell by supporting Matt Rambo for Probate/Juvenile Court Judge.

Thomas Jefferson warned of the judiciary being the despotic branch, and it certainly rings true in Geauga County. Judge Grendell has a well-established pattern and practice of adversarial behavior towards anyone who disagrees with him or questions the lawfulness of his (many) orders. That list of adversaries includes former Commissioner Blake Rear, County Auditor Chuck Walder, Geauga County Prosecutor Jim Flaiz, Republican Party Chair Nancy McArthur, Russell Township Trustees, Chester Township Trustees, government employees and private citizens and organizations. Calling citizens “howling coyotes,” as Tim Grendell has publicly done, shows a lack of judicial restraint and a serious character flaw. Can you name any other judge in the State of Ohio that has acted in such a manner?

Issuing (unlawful) subpoenas to compel people into his courtroom is a form of intimidation. Russell Township Trustees had to defend themselves against that abuse. When I and fellow Chester Trustee Mike Petruziello refused to follow his unlawful orders, Tim Grendell abused the power of his office by initiating a criminal investigation – alleging third degree felony intimidation; punishable by up to five years in prison. Judge Grendell even claimed I violated his Constitutional rights! Justice did persevere when his orders were reversed and vacated, but at a cost of more than $100,000 to the taxpayers of Chester. This travesty of justice could have been avoided if Judge Grendell conducted himself consistent with the requirements of the Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct.

One becomes his political enemy when you disagree with Tim Grendell. That is not judicial temperament; it is judicial abuse. On the other hand, in my engagements with Matt Rambo, I find him reasoned and reasonable – qualities that will serve him well as our next Probate/Juvenile Court Judge. Grendell pays no penalty for his abuse of power. Only we the people of Geauga County can administer justice by voting for Matt Rambo on March 17.

Ken Radtke, Jr.

Chester Township

Support Matt Rambo

Are you an undecided voter? Undecided about who to vote for in the Republican Primary for Geauga County Probate/Juvenile Court Judge? I’m voting for Matt Rambo. Here’s why.

Matt Rambo is an even-tempered man who will work collaboratively with other county officials and agencies to provide the best services possible to the people of Geauga County. Unlike the current judge, Matt Rambo won’t regularly threaten hardworking county employees with contempt in order to get his way.

Matt Rambo is a fiscal conservative who will reign in the wild increases in the court’s budget – a $1 million increase since the current judge took office in 2011, despite a drop in the caseload.

Matt Rambo is a humble man who has a calling to serve the public as a judge and whose legal career reflects his preparation for public service, unlike the current judge who is a career politician and runs to his friends in the legislature anytime he wants to change the law to give himself more power.

Matt Rambo will not use public money to plaster his face and name all over mailers, yard signs and billboards. The current judge has spent tens of thousands of our dollars on self-promotion, using court programs and the county park district as a means to increase name recognition and feed his ego.

Matt Rambo won’t be in the newspapers or on the streets of Chardon Square yelling at police officers. He’ll be working in the courthouse, serving the people of Geauga County.

Still not sure who to vote for? Ask your local law enforcement officer or elected official who they’re voting for. They may not be able to say so publicly, but privately I suspect most of our public servants will tell you they’re voting for Matt Rambo.

Vote Matt Rambo for Geauga County Probate/Juvenile Court judge. He will be the best thing to happen for Geauga County’s children and families since Judge Chip Henry.

Shelley Chernin

Russell Township

Grendell lacks respect for process

Before Tim Grendell became a judge, he manipulated the election process twice. Many Geauga voters remember how he likely destroyed Republican chances to continue control of the Ohio House of Representatives by supporting a Lake County Democrat whose narrow victory tipped the balance of control in the House, denying the Speaker of the House position to Geauga County’s own Republican Representative at the time. Grendell did not support the Republican Party!

His lack of respect for the election process was also demonstrated when, as a State Senator, he ran and won election to the Ohio House of Representatives. When his wife was not appointed to his unexpired Senate seat, he decided to stay in the Senate. Did “I’m running for the House” secretly mean, “I’m running for the House, but only if my wife gets appointed to take my place in the Senate?” Is this not misleading the voters? Currently, both Grendells are running for office, using the same signs without specifying who is running for what position. Obfuscation continues!

Tim Grendell purchased a full page against Matt Rambo. It was paid for by The Freedom for All PAC. It appears from online research to be a small Akron-based PAC focused on Human Rights with most significant contributions coming from businesses outside of Ohio. As always, as has been stated by many in local papers, with Timothy it is always a good idea to Follow the Money to know what he is up to.

I will vote for Matt Rambo for Probate Juvenile Court Judge and for returning integrity and respect to the electoral process.

Jacqueline Samuel


Return pride to bench

The following list includes acts not performed by judges and lawyers who aspire to the office of judge of any court.

Run ads and circulars that they are running for office. Geauga County Probate and Juvenile Court Judge Timothy Grendell does.

Do not appear in their judicial robe of office any place except the bench. Grendell did publicly.

Do not allow their picture and name to appear on county park schedules and activities. Grendell does repeatedly.

(Note: Grendell early on was advised his only duty to the park system was to appoint park commissioners. )

Do not appear in public in a denim jacket boldly displaying their name and court. Grendell has.

Do not publicly discuss court proceedings. Grendell has.

In order to return our courts to a truly professional level, we need Matthew Rambo as a matter of pride.

Ben R. Shuman


Grendell, renounce Rambo ad

The full page ad in last week’s paper was deeply discouraging. Geauga County Probate and Juvenile Judge Timothy Grendell’s use of a PAC to malign Matt Rambo was wrong. It was even more distressing to see that Rambo’s home address was clearly placed in the center of the ad. What was the purpose of this? Was it harassment or intimidation of the candidate?  We can’t really say.

As parents of two children, we do know that had this happened to us, we would have felt menaced. We have seen Rambo at a variety of community events with his children. Does he have to reconsider bringing them now? Whether Judge Grendell had any part in creating this ad is irrelevant. As a judge, as a citizen and as a father himself, he has the obligation to renounce this ad and this kind of dirty politics. There is no excuse for tolerating this kind of behavior.

Peggy and Mike Saxon 

Munson Township

Rambo best choice

Judge Timothy Grendell keeps making the claims that experience matters and that he is the real Republican in the race for probate Judge. Well, let’s review a few facts.

Would a real Republican who claims to be a fiscal conservative spend $1 million a year more than his predecessor?  Does experience mean he knows how to siphon off public funds via television adds, billboards and his photos in the park newsletter to publicize himself? Would a real Republican appoint park commissions that refuse to allow public comment or questions at official park meetings?  Does experience mean knowing how to threaten county officials with jail when they balk at paying his bloated bills?  Would a real Republican fire a park commissioner when that person shows concern about protecting an endangered species? Does experience mean illegally using a probate court employee to help him put up his huge yard signs? Would a real Republican appoint park commissioners who send around $70,000 to the Disney corporation so Geauga Park employees can run around looking like Disney characters? Does experience mean appointing park commissioners who spend well over appraised value for a golf course and a piece of property adjacent to that owned by a park commissioner? Would a real Republican tolerate a park director who illegally issues trapping permits on park land that is a state nature preserve?  Does experience mean tolerating full page adds from extremist groups that lie about his opponent? Would a real Republican?

I’m voting for Matthew Rambo on March l7.

John G. Augustine

Parkman Township

Grendell not a real conservative

Political conservative once meant ideals like integrity, the Constitution and the values of the founding fathers, fiscal restraint and minimal government oversight. Yet, Judge Timothy Grendell seems happy to insult the intelligence of reasonable conservatives with his plethora of campaign flyers suggesting he is the true conservative in this race for his gavel.

Everyone should recall the stunt he pulled in 2010 when, while holding one legislative seat, he ran for another. When he won that seat, he immediately declined it and then used his right to appoint someone to take the seat. He unabashedly stole an election from the electorate and saw nothing wrong with it because, as he put it, he did it to help his political party. That sounds like the same disturbing Dershowitzian logic used by President Trump’s lawyer that would have left conservative founders like Madison reeling. Republicans would have once decried such an act as one of the most reprehensible, yet in the post Tea Party age of conservative politics, Grendell was praised by his followers.

Grendell has since laid waste to other conservative tenets. For example, he lacks any fiscal restraint as exemplified by his reckless court spending that has found him in near constant conflict with the county auditor’s office. He has also demonstrated a lack of respect for local rule with his messy history of meddling with various local township governments, never mind his micromanagement of the county park system so well covered by concerned citizens. He has even used his power to legally challenge citizens of his own party the right to free speech, which sounds more like the behavior of Ivy League liberals.

Many far-right conservatives take pleasure in how these renegade politicians irk liberals, or boldly mix faith with politics, but what they fail to realize is that candidates like Grendell and Trump are ultimately toxic to the party. Numerous national surveys have shown that the GOP membership is shrinking, especially among millennials and younger adults. The rebellious, amoral and uncompromising behavior of Grendell and Trump appeals to these right wingers, but alienates many rational people who still respect the true nature of conservatism.

You are making it all too easy for liberals to expose the dark underbelly of the party when membership stand proud and applaud after Trump spews obvious lies in a State of the Union speech, or when you continue to elect hypocrites like the Grendells to office.

The party desperately needs to restore decorum and leadership that respects the truth but still values true conservative politics because more of this extreme politics will only accomplish to empowering an electorate that is more willing to try Bernie Sanders’ form of politics. In that spirit, I urge reasonable conservatives to save the GOP from self-destruction one candidate at a time and elect Matt Rambo to Probate Court and Frank Hall to State Representative this March.

Steven Vieira

Chester Township

We LOVE our public parks and want to support the mission to CONSERVE, PRESERVE and PROTECT!

Categories: News

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