(La Porte County, IN) - A La Porte County official said he's not surprised La Porte County Auditor Tim Stabosz was on the losing end of a judge's decision this week.
Stabosz is being sued for defamation of character by Shaw Friedman, the lead attorney for the La Porte County Commissioners.
Stabosz filed a motion to dismiss the case claiming public figures like Friedman are subject to public criticism. However, a judge ruled not to dismiss the case feeling there was sufficient evidence to suggest that Stabosz could have acted with malice. The judge also granted a request by Friedman to include Facebook postings from Stabosz as evidence in his defamation suit against him.
La Porte County Commission President Mrozinski said Stabosz is letting his strong personal feelings about Friedman and other political enemies cloud his judgment and rule his actions.
“It’s kind of what I expected when you got a guy that campaigns on La Porte being a pit of corruption and all of this other stuff he campaigned on. That’s his mindset. He’s in office for one thing. He wants to have revenge on anyone who doesn’t think like him and he hates Shaw Friedman with a passion,” he said.
Stabosz says he doesn't hate Friedman personally but doesn't like how county government and individuals are hurt by the way Friedman goes about his business, which he alleged is about maintaining control and profiting.
On the other hand, Friedman has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and alleges Stabosz uses his public office to settle personal and political scores.
In other legal issues with Stabosz, the county commissioners are pursuing a court order to force Stabosz to pay Friedman & Associates for work performed by the law firm. Stabosz feels that some of the billing might not be legitimate. The amount being withheld from Friedman's law firm by Stabosz is more than $28,000.
Mrozinski said Stabosz has all of the information from Friedman that he needs to audit all of Friedman's claims, and he must pay since he was ordered to recently by the commissioners. Stabosz believes the auditor has ultimate authority over the matter as chief financial officer.
In October, however, State Examiner Paul Joyce, in a letter to auditor Tim Stabosz and the La Porte County Commissioners, said the auditor should pay the claim if the commissioners or a court issues a payment order.
“There’s nothing wrong with Shaw Friedman’s bills. I’ve looked at them,” Mrozinski said.