After years of lawsuits against Franklin County, a judge has deemed Villa Ridge resident Art LeBeau’s latest act frivolous.
At a hearing held Thursday, Associate Circuit Judge Richard Scheibe told LeBeau he would have a few days to rescind his latest argument, otherwise he would impose sanctions on him.
The sanctions could include contempt of court, accrued court fees and a fine.
LeBeau is attempting to recoup fees he was court-ordered to pay after he and fellow plaintiff Eric Reichert skipped a deposition last summer.
According to county officials who were in the courtroom, Judge Scheibe at one point ordered LeBeau to stop talking and a bailiff even approached him before he finished his remarks.
The ongoing litigation stems from a lawsuit originally filed two years ago in September 2015, claiming the Franklin County Municipal Court was set up illegally and County Counselor Mark Vincent unlawfully hired a lobbying firm to help with state legislation creating the court.
This all happened in 2012 and since that time, LeBeau and fellow Villa Ridge resident Reichert have filed about half a dozen unsuccessful lawsuits against the county commission.
In the specific case against Vincent, the pair unsuccessfully argued the attorney representing Vincent had no standing in the case, and after being denied a new judge, turned their vitriol toward Judge Ada Brehe-Krueger.
Because they believed the attorney and judge had no standing, the pair skipped the deposition and after the case was dismissed with prejudice, they were court-ordered to repay costs for the deposition of more than $1,500.
The pair refused to pay and as a result, Vincent filed an execution order to recoup the money owed to the county, which had paid for his legal defense in the lawsuit.
After more than six months of legal wrangling, LeBeau paid $1,641 in court-ordered restitution and additional fees.
The payment came after the property in Sullivan, owned by LeBeau, was seized by the Franklin County Sheriff and was scheduled to be auctioned to the highest bidder.
At that time, LeBeau stated the only reason he is paying the fees is to “avoid a stress situation for his tenant,” and threatened future litigation in the matter.
According to the Franklin County Assessor’s office, the parcel of land in Sullivan, which was set to be auctioned, has an appraised value of $58,220.
Although Reichert was also a plaintiff in the Vincent lawsuit, LeBeau has borne the financial brunt thus far and has continued the legal fight solo.
During the course of the lawsuit, five separate judges were assigned and four recused. In the most recent arguments, six judges recused themselves before Judge Scheibe made his ruling Thursday.