Magnus threatens to sue minister for libel


By Josh Ellerbrock - jellerbrock@limanews.com



Pastor LaMont Monford of Philippian Missionary Baptist Church in Lima speaks in his office Wednesday afternoon about the current issues facing Met Housing. Lindsay Brown/The Lima News

Pastor LaMont Monford of Philippian Missionary Baptist Church in Lima speaks in his office Wednesday afternoon about the current issues facing Met Housing. Lindsay Brown/The Lima News


Read Councilor Jamie Dixon’s full statement at limaohio.com.

LIMA — Two days after alleging Councilor Jamie Dixon lived outside the ward he represents, local businessman Ray Magnus has threatened a libel lawsuit against Rev. B. LaMont Monford, a minister in the Lima Area Black Ministerial Alliance, for remarks he made on an online video posted earlier this week.

“(Monford) made a lot of untrue statements on that video. Maybe he should have checked it before he posted it,” Magnus said.

In the video, Monford makes the case that due to Dixon’s unwillingness to follow Magnus’ agenda, he was the target of unfair rumors.

Monford identified former councilor Teresa Adams, who held Dixon’s seat prior to his election in 2017, as one such source of Dixon’s residency rumors. He also named Ray Magnus as an influencer in the reduction of Jermaine Harper’s CDBG fund allocation to create a program educating low- to middle-income entrepreneurs.

Magnus called the allegations a “bunch of crap and untruths.”

“I do not control anybody on city council,” he said. “If something comes up, I talk to several people on council about issues that comes up,” Magnus said. “I never told anybody how to vote or how not to vote. Don’t intend to. But I will let my opinion be known.”

As a result, Magnus threatened to file a civil suit against Monford for libel and defamation Wednesday afternoon.

“He can look forward to getting served papers for a lawsuit,” Magnus said.

“I think the fact that he’s threatening me with a lawsuit shows that he’s trying to bully me,” Monford responded. “If he has any further questions, he can contact my attorney.”

During council’s Monday meeting, Magnus presented alleged evidence showing Dixon lived outside his ward — a series of 13 photos and a typed report packed in manila envelopes — to both council and the city administration. He also submitted another 60 photos on a flash drive to the city’s law department.

Magnus had pursued an investigation, including looking through Dixon’s garbage, into the 5th Ward councilor’s residency roughly a week before Dixon made veiled public comments about calls he had received concerning a run for council president in 2019.

At least one of those calls was made by Magnus, who said he would help financially back Dixon’s campaign if he were to run.

In the video, Monford said Dixon was offered $40,000 for his campaign. Magnus, who is a frequent contributor to conservative political campaigns, did not identify a dollar amount and questioned where Monford’s number comes from.

“It’s not trying to buy anybody, it’s just that they have the beliefs that I have and I’d like to see them in office. I’d like to see a change,” Magnus said. “Truthfully, I’d support anybody running against Nixon. I don’t care who it is.”

In contrast, Monford connected Dixon’s refusal to run for council president as why Dixon’s residency is now being questioned.

“If they can’t buy you or bully you, they try to destroy you,” Monford said in the video.

“This is bigger than Jamie. We got to stand up for Jamie, for your Jermaines, for your young people, and stand up for individuals in our community trying to make a positive difference and come up against a great wall of antagonism,” Monford said.

Dixon released a statement highlighting past achievements and future challenges Wednesday evening to answer Magnus’s allegations. It can be viewed in its entirety online at www.limaohio.com.

“In response to the allegations of Ray Magnus, I have voluntarily submitted documents to the law director, and I’m in compliance with local, state and federal laws,” Dixon said in a video posted to social media.

As for the city’s responsibility regarding Magnus’s allegations, Law Director Tony Geiger said he is giving Dixon time to formulate a response to the report before he makes a recommendation to council on how to proceed.

Geiger said residency requirements in Ohio rely heavily on an elected official’s stated public intent alongside some of the objective factors that Magnus may have uncovered in his three-week-long personal investigation into the matter.

Magnus also challenged Dixon to a polygraph test regarding his residency Wednesday. He said he would pay for tests for both Dixon and himself, and the event could be live-streamed by The Lima News.

“Jamie didn’t want to say anything (Monday) because, you know, he is supposedly a religious person and he didn’t want to get caught in a lie or have to lie and it’d be on tape and come back later to haunt him,” Magnus said.

https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2018/12/Councilman-Dixon-Press-Release-Statement-1-1.pdf
Pastor LaMont Monford of Philippian Missionary Baptist Church in Lima speaks in his office Wednesday afternoon about the current issues facing Met Housing. Lindsay Brown/The Lima News
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2018/12/web1_Monford-1.jpgPastor LaMont Monford of Philippian Missionary Baptist Church in Lima speaks in his office Wednesday afternoon about the current issues facing Met Housing. Lindsay Brown/The Lima News
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2018/12/web1_Magnus-Ray-1.jpg

By Josh Ellerbrock

jellerbrock@limanews.com

Read Councilor Jamie Dixon’s full statement at limaohio.com.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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