Archive for Legal

Gift Card Scam Alert

Dear Ohio Lakefront Members,

Recently, several of our board members received an email from an individual claiming to be OLG President Tony Yankel asking for donations of gift cards to purchase emergency items and PPE to distribute to local nursing facilities and respite care facilities due to the COVID-19 challenge.

This email did not come from Tony. From our initial review of the situation, it appears that there was not any sort of a hack of our system or access of our email accounts or Tony’s email. Most likely this person found email addresses associated with likely lakefront property owners online and he or she created an email in Tony’s name. This is a scam that has been used frequently in churches, veterans organizations, and other groups in Ohio for the past few years but is circulating again to take advantage of people during this time of uncertainty.

If you receive this email, please do not respond to it in any way as in doing so you may be sharing personal information with the scammer. Instead, you can forward it to (who?) so that we can continue to monitor the situation. You may also notify your local law enforcement agency.

The Ohio Attorney General has published this list of common scams and things to look out for when you might be the target of an online scam. Please take a look at it and share with friends or family members who might be vulnerable in their generosity.


Tony Yankel

President, Ohio Lakefront Group

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Legal Notice for settlement with Lake Erie Lakeshore Property Owners (and Claim Form)

The Court has appointed a third party to perform the settlements with owners of Lake Erie lakefront property. A legal notice has been prepared to give information about the settlement and how to file a claim for compensation from ODNR. This information applies to both Submerged Lands Lease holders, improperly charged to lease their own property, as well as to all lakefront property owners who can be compensated for the illegal taking of their property to the Ordinary High Water Mark. In order to receive any compensation, a lakeshore property owner must follow these instructions and file a claim form. To read these instructions and receive a claim form you can visit the website which also provides the legal Stipulation and the Preliminary Order from the Court approving the stipulation.  The information on our website is the actual legal notice sent to lakeshore property owners for which we have email addresses as well as this notice that will be published in local newspapers. The claim form is the same as that provided on the website of the Merrill vs. ODNR Administrator (JND Class Action Administration). This JND website provides all information including phone number and address of the Administrator.

Legal Notice: Legal Notice


Claim Form: Claim Form

Please DO NOT contact the Court regarding the settlement except as otherwise stated in the legal notice.

Since the settlement is being handled by a third party, questions should be referred to the third party as provided in the legal notice.  It would be good if we were given a copy of the questions and a copy of the answers.

Telephone (toll-free): 1-844-360-2770

Mailing Address

Merrill v. ODNR Claims Administrator
c/o JND Class Action Administration
PO Box 6878
Broomfield, CO 80021

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Judge Lucci Issues Preliminary Approval to Terms of Settlement between OLG and ODNR

As posted on June 14th of this year. the Honorable Judge Eugene Lucci issued an order for preliminary approval for an agreed to settlement of our class action lawsuit against ODNR and the State of Ohio. The final hearing for any oral arguments or objections by class members will be held October 14 of this year. A publication in the newspapers will advise of this hearing and instructions for any who wish to appear at the final hearing. A Settlement agent has been named who will administer claims for distribution of the money that will be paid to the submerged lands leaseholders as well as other qualified lakeshore owners claimants.   If this settlement is approved, that will be the end of the more than 12 year old court battle which OLG won in every Court initially and on two subsequent appeals. If the settlement is not approved, we go back to square one in the litigation where it left off. OLG sees this settlement as a win for lakeshore owners. The settlement was reached after nearly a year of negotiations and OLG believes that this is the best settlement that could be attained without going back to litigation. To read Judge Lucci’s full order please click the following link. Order preliminarily approving class action settlement (03800632x7A241)

OLG President Tony Yankel issued a press release on June 14 which has been covered in most of the local newspapers. To read the press release, OLG Press Release 6-15-16

The Settlement Document called the Stipulation lays out all the terms and conditions of the settlement. This is another lengthy document. Exhibit B includes the instructions for submitting a claim to be compensated for (1) lease payments and (2) taking by ODNR. It also provides for persons who may object to the settlement and how they can provide written objection to the Court. Exhibit C is  is the plan of allocation including the methodology that will be used to calculate payments. Exhibit C-1  is a spreadsheet for submerged lands lease holders and the expected repayment by ODNR. In most cases repayment is pennies on the dollar, based on ODNR’s determination of where the property boundary lies. The spread sheet begins on page 41 of the document. Exhibit D begins on page 197 of the document and is Judge Lucci Order for Preliminary Approval of the Class action settlement. To view the document, click the following link: Stipulation of Settlement w-Exhibits 5-27-16


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OLG Files for Summary Judgement with Court

August 5, 2015

This brief basically states that all the facts are now known and undisputed. Everything that ODNR has done to take private property is a matter of public record and no further proceedings by the Court should be necessary.
The brief asks that damages be awarded to all Lakeshore property owners without further litigation.

The conclusion of the brief states:
Since the creation of its coastal management program, ODNR has taken measures that directly interfere with Class Plaintiffs’ property rights. By giving the public an unfettered and unqualified right to enter onto portions of privately owned property located lakeward of the OHWM and thereby destroying Class Plaintiffs’ right to exclusive use of that property, which was established by Sloan more than 130 years ago, ODNR engaged in what the United States Supreme Court and courts around the country have recognized as a permanent physical occupation requiring compensation.
ODNR has deprived Class Plaintiffs of their right to exclude others from their private property, a right that the United States and Ohio Supreme Courts have recognized as one of the most important rights associated with property ownership, and one with which a governmental entity may not interfere without providing compensation.
This Court should accordingly continue the long tradition of Ohio courts in protecting private property rights, and find that ODNR’s conduct constitutes a taking that gives ODNR a clear legal duty to commence appropriations proceedings, and vests in the Class Plaintiffs a corresponding legal right to have such proceedings commenced. The Class Plaintiffs have no adequate remedy at law for ODNR’s taking of their property, and therefore a writ of mandamus compelling the State to determine the amount of compensation owed is warranted.
For all of these reasons, the Court should grant Class Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment on Count II of the First Amended Complaint, and issue a writ of mandamus compelling the State to commence appropriations proceedings to determine the amount of compensation owed to each of the Class Plaintiffs for the State’s taking of their private property rights.
Read the entire brief by clicking this link: OLG Motion for Summary Judgment on Count II 7-29-15.
The State will likely file a brief in opposition. It has until September 14 to file.

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