Marysville City Councilman Dan Fogt has agreed to settle the complaint filed against him in his bid to unseat state Rep. Dorothy Pelanda (R-Marysville) in the Ohio House of Representatives' 86th District.
Fogt reached a settlement with Brittany Warner, political director of the Ohio House Republican Organizational Committee, who filed the complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission in early February.
Fogt was scheduled to appear before the full commission March 13 until an agreement was struck that morning.
Warner's complaint related to campaign business cards Fogt passed out that said "Dan Fogt State Representative" instead of "Dan Fogt for State Representative."
The complaint charged that not including the word for made it look as if Fogt is currently serving in the office.
Fogt, who is running against Pelanda in the Republican primary May 6, said it was an honest mistake and he stopped using the cards as soon as he was notified of the complaint.
The agreement, officially called a stipulation of disposition, finds Fogt in violation of the first charge, a provision of Ohio Revised Code 3517.21 that states a candidate cannot "knowingly and with intent to affect the outcome of such campaign ... use the title of an office not currently held by a candidate in a manner that implies that the candidate does currently hold that office."
Fogt said at his insistence, the agreement includes the fact that he explained to the complainant the absence of the word for was an error; both parties agreed the "mistake was unintentional" but still a violation.
The agreement did not find Fogt in violation of another ORC provision that states a candidate cannot make "a false statement concerning a candidate, either knowing the same to be false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not, if the statement is designed to promote the election, nomination, or defeat of the candidate."
The agreement said Fogt would not face criminal prosecution or be otherwise sanctioned beyond the finding of the violation.
Fogt said he is glad the ordeal is over, but not entirely satisfied.
"I'm not totally happy because I wish the charges would be dropped altogether, but they wouldn't do that," he said.
Fogt appeared Feb. 20 before the Ohio Elections Commission Probable Cause Panel to determine whether he violated campaign rules. The panel found there was probable cause a violation had occurred and sent the case to the full Ohio Elections Commission for review.