In 2013, John Sadinsky was called a hoarder by some on the Internet, became entangled in a legal battle with Monroe Township and even had to undergo hernia surgery.
As 2014 begins, the trustee-elect is ready to officially begin his job and said he knows he faces a steep learning curve.
"I'm just going to try to learn as much as I can so I can do a good job for the people," Sadinsky told ThisWeek, citing such topics as zoning and budgetary restrictions and policies he'll have to learn.
After he is sworn in during the first trustees meeting of the year Monday, Jan. 6, Sadinsky hopes to create a more transparent and welcoming attitude among trustees, he said.
"I definitely want to try to make the people aware that we are definitely an open door, and the way I can do a better job is with more communication from the people," he said. "(I want to know) the things they feel they need, and I want them to feel like I definitely have an open ear for them."
Sadinsky will replace 16-year trustee veteran Troy Hendren, whom Sadinsky defeated in the November election and who said he should have made more of a campaign effort.
"I'll be the first to admit that I didn't campaign too hard, and there are a lot of people new to this area that I evidently need to meet," Hendren said. "But I'm kind of glad to have a break. I was getting somewhat burned out on it after 16 years. That may be why I took the nonchalant attitude of running as I did."
Hendren said he likely would run for trustee again eventually, but for now he will focus on his trucking and transport businesses and maybe find a hobby.
Before he can be completely free of township duties, however, Hendren will remain involved in a lawsuit involving his successor.
A dispute over junk cars on Sadinsky's property has resulted in a scheduled Licking County trial, as well as Sadinsky suing the township itself.
Sadinsky operates his business, A-1 Reliable Towing, from his home on 7707 Green Mill Road. After an aerial view of his property showed dozens of vehicles stored behind a privacy fence, the township alleged that Sadinsky's business had violated the property's conditional-use permit, claiming that Sadinsky was not allowed to store so many vehicles on his property.
Although he agreed to stay within the contained area of his fence, Sadinsky contends that no limitation was ever included in the agreement that was made 20 years ago and that he is under no violation. After the township attempted to fine him for various amounts and violations, Sadinsky brought a civil suit against the township to recoup attorney fees and other expenses.
Hendren, who is named as a third-party defendant in the lawsuit, will be involved until its resolution and said he hopes Sadinsky chooses not to seek funds that would take money away from the township he will represent.
"I hope that (Sadinsky) comes to the service of the township and drops the lawsuit against them," Hendren said. "That's really going to set zoning and everything back a long ways."
Sadinsky said he hopes the two sides could come to an agreement during a mediation hearing scheduled for Jan. 14, adding that he only seeks to make up for hefty lawyer bills with his lawsuit.
"I feel like I spent money on a lawyer to teach (township trustees at the time) how to do their jobs," he said.
As the dispute nears a resolution, Sadinsky said he would be happy for the dispute that spans four years to come to an end and that the process might have galvanized the township's residents in his favor during elections.
"I honestly think (the trustees) conducting business the way they were helped me (win election) because of how the public felt about the situation," he said. "I think it's a testament to the people in saying, 'Listen, enough is enough.' I feel bad for my kids because I feel like I was a lot grumpier person. I wish I could have that time back."
The Licking County trial initially was scheduled for Jan. 14 but was rescheduled in December for a March 19 date, pending the mediation.