Tony Ashbaugh loses big today!

Watch reporter Sara Rivest on TV 57 news tonight – she is the only reporter compelled to cover a Berrien County Freedom of Information Act court ruling that favored the public’s right for government transparency.

Ray Kirkus made Michigan law today.  Kirkus vs New Buffalo will be available to other Michigan citizens when municipalities illegally withhold information guaranteed through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA),  Yet, even as recently as this morning, City Clerk Vander Clay continued to defy Judge Wiley’s August 7, 2017 verbal ruling that the city surveillance videos were public property, there was no exemption that protected their privacy, and ordered them released. The City’s year-long  protection of Tony Ashbaugh in a costly lawsuit came to an end today.  Perhaps the continuous defiance by the City Clerk will result in a lawsuit filed by me that will find the City attorney back in Judge Wiley’s courtroom arguing against Kirkus vs New Buffalo. Judge Wiley would have no sympathy for the City coming in front of him defending the illegal acts of the city clerk, yet today as well as last week,, City Clerk Vander Clay refused to fulfill my Freedom of Information Act request for the public videos.  Perhaps she just doesn’t respect the letter of the law or the orders from a judge.

Tony Ashbaugh

At today’s hearing, the City’s attorney appearing agitated with Ashbaugh’s attorney, addressed Judge Wiley, saying  he didn’t want to be in court today because he thought the case was finished after the last hearing and that he has no interest in Tony’s attempt to prolong the lawsuit.  He said that the City wants to be done with this case, that the City agreed at the August 7, 2017 hearing that the videos were public property and the City did not want any part in an appeal that Ashbaugh was considering.  Judge Wiley stated that on August 7, he gave a vocal order to release the videos (continuously defied by City Clerk Vander Clay) and he had expected the videos to be released upon that order.  Perhaps the Cicy Council should inform their employees that they are legally obligated to uphold judge’s orders and Michigan law even though the Council itself rejected the Freedom of Information Act requirements for over a year.

Again Judge Wiley stated the videos had to be released, this time reiterating his verbal order while signing a written one.  He also said that Ray Kirkus had requested a sanction (a penalty for disobeying a rule) against Tony Ashbaugh’s attorney because he filed an improper objection that required the hearing today.  Judge Wiley ruled in favor of the sanction, declared Ashbaugh’s objection frivolous, and ordered Ashbaugh to pay all legal fees and court costs associated with today’s hearing.

The bad news for Tony Ashbaugh is good news for the City, Donna Messinger, Larry Pitchford, Diana Selir, and me.  Ashbaugh’s private federal lawsuit against private citizens, city employees, and the City for recording and distributing a private conversation will be baseless when his videos end up on You Tube.  This civil servant has become the master of the city with everyone bowing down to him in fear of being sued.  The City Council has to put an end to this man behind the curtain.






















































































































































































































































































































5 thoughts on “Tony Ashbaugh loses big today!

  1. Susan Gotfried Post author

    Well said, it is amazing that Tony’s suffering became the main focus of this piece when really, he had little to do with whole case. The case was about a City trying to cover up for an employee by violating the law. Whether he apologizes to the people he slandered is moot because the law still was violated. And there might be many new lawsuits against the city due to the cover up – because as we all know, the cover up is worse than the crime. Tony’s actions did not entitle the city council to wait until a court order to force them to follow the law. The victory was Ray Kirkus’ but it got lost in the coverage due to Tony’s narcissistic drama. And for Tony to flaunt a reprimand of the police chief that was expunged through an ethics investigation Tony started, is beyond belied.

  2. Cheryl Marie

    Love means never having to say “I’m sorry” to the one who has been harmed. Or is that a valuable principle?

    That’s the underlying point I attribute to the ABC 57 report done by Sara Rivest. The story should have focused on the social value of a Victory—love for the rule of law (the FOIA statute). Statutory law is what people of the City place their trust in, right?

    It has taken Ray Kirkus countless hours, enduring extreme frustration, to persevere and finally bring that value home. But instead, this reporter chose to feature the perpetrator—the destroyer of social trust that residents repose in employees via City Council members and the City Manager. Now that the tape is being released, the reporter was able to get a statement from Tony. That’s not hot news.

    What is central about the reporter’s purely emotion-based story is that Tony claims being sorry about his “dumb” and “insensitive” words, but the story is missing Tony’s inclusion that he will apologize or has apologized to the specific people he harmed. The reporter’s fault for omitting that key point, right?

    This reporter has condoned Tony’s stance about being a victim of the security camera, and who should be forgiven by the general public without saying “I’m sorry” to the specific people harmed and to the people of the City. Then this reporter leaves the real story untold—why employees should NOT be watched, especially since, paraphrasing Tony’s words ‘A lot of people say dumb things in their private office’. As an aside, a public official does not have a “private office”. The official occupies an Office of Trust at the physical location where that Office exists. The public official’s opinions and actions or inaction represent the integrity of that Office created by the residents, and the public official takes an Oath of Office to support that integrity. Tony’s conduct was a breach of the integrity of the Office. Former Police Chief Larry Pitchford was with absolute right and duty to bring the breach to Tony’s superior officer. That superior officer then breached his duty to uphold the integrity of his Office of Trust.

    It is a maxim of law that ‘ The origin of the thing ought to be inquired into’. Another is that ‘Outward acts evince an inward purpose’. Maybe all City officers and employees will now FEEL Tony’s pain as the tape is played, and may be each will inquire inward and do some repurposing. The City’s security cameras will then capture the value of moral goodness as applied to each one’s performance in his/her Office of Trust. Then, no public official will have to say “I’m sorry”.

  3. George Dobie

    So sad for ‘big tony’ I have alway think him be member of the Scots mafia. May related to tony ‘bigf tuna ‘ A. This is only my individual opinion. I have no accomplishments. Happy Christmas and Hollowweenie.

  4. Ray

    To be clear, I don’t believe Ashbaugh was ordered to pay 1/2 of all other costs; only all of today’s.

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