A critic of Stark County businessman Benjamin Suarez has filed a lawsuit aimed at stopping North Canton from giving grants to companies Suarez wants to move into the former Hoover Co.
A longtime critic of Benjamin Suarez has teamed with a North Canton resident in a lawsuit aimed at stopping North Canton from giving grants to Suarez Corp. Industries.
North Canton City Council voted June 6 to give grants to SCI and its business partners — Patriot Enterprises and LT Enterprises — after the three companies agreed to begin production of EdenPURE products in a former Hoover Co. warehouse at 334 Orchard St. NE. The occupancy grants are based on city income tax collections from SCI, Patriot and LT employees.
SCI hopes to have about 300 people working in the warehouse before summer ends.
They will be assembling EdenPURE space heaters, air purifiers and vacuum cleaners that previously were produced at factories in China.
The grants are being challenged by Andy Martin — who lives in New York and calls himself “the right Republican for president” — and Richard E. Bierie, a North Canton resident who is an acquaintance of city government critic Charles Osborne.
At the end of the lawsuit, Bierie signed an acknowledgment that Martin did not give him legal advice or hold himself out to be a lawyer, and advised him to hire an Ohio lawyer.
The civil complaint — filed Tuesday in Stark County Common Pleas Court — contends City Council improperly passed the ordinance for the grant as an emergency, which blocks attempts to over turn the ordinance through a referendum. He also contends the grants are repayment for Suarez’ support of Ohio Republicans.
Attorneys for the city and Suarez could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.
The lawsuit names North Canton Mayor David J. Held and six of seven City Council members as defendants. It has been assigned to Judge Charles E. Brown Jr.
For several years, Martin has maintained a website, www.stopbensuarez.com.
Although Martin has a degree from the University of Illinois law school, the Illinois Supreme Court refused his application for a license to practice law.