CARROLL COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - An ousted Carroll County Commissioner had his day in court Thursday. An attorney for Ron Slavens was pitted against attorneys for the Carroll County Republican Party and the County Council.
The hearing lasted for nearly four hours. Ron Slavens said he owns a farmhouse in Carroll County's District 1, but because of health reasons, stays at a Delphi residence.
But the Republican Party said because the Delphi address is outside District 1, he doesn't meet residency requirements and his commissioner's seat had to be declared vacant.
"I have no comment until the proceedings are completed," said Slavens.
Slavens has been tight-lipped ever since he found out the county council declared his seat vacant last month. In return, he filed a lawsuit against both the County Council and the Republican Central Committee.
In a hearing Thursday, he told his side of the story and asked the court to stop the process of filling his seat.
"We believe that our case is very good, that Mr. Slavens did not abandoned his residence in Adams Township and should remain in that spot. Therefore, we believe, that at the end of the day, we can prevail on the merits of the case," said Christine DeSanctis, Slavens' attorney.
In court, it was revealed that Slavens has owned a farmhouse in Carroll County's District 1, near Idaville, since 1978. However, due to a pacemaker monitor, he, his wife, and granddaughter have been staying at a home in Delphi.
"The real question is whether Mr. Slavens is actually residing in his commissioner district. We think when a person sleeps every night at a particular place, that's where he's actually residing," said Jerry Withered, an attorney representing the Republican Party.
The Republican Party filled Slavens' seat in a caucus last week, naming John Brown as the new commissioner. Slavens and his attorney said the way the party went about filling his seat was improper. They plan to take action against that move as well.
"We're ready to file the appropriate petitions next week with respect to the caucus and replacement of Mr. Slavens," said DeSanctis.
The attorneys for both sides will have until April 17 to file their proposed findings as to what they think would be an appropriate order after Thursday's hearing. The judge is slated to make a decision April 22.
Judge Bradley Mohler from Clinton County is hearing the case because the Circuit Court Judge in Carroll County, Benjamin Diener, recused himself. Diener's wife, Abigail, is representing the County Council.
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