ODNR Forced Home Owners to Sue to Protect Property Rights, Ignored Lower Court Rulings

The Ohio Lakefront Group (OLG), representing 7,000 Ohioans owning property along Lake Erie and other waterways, today filed a motion asking for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to compensate them for the $578,244 spent on defending their property rights in a seven year legal battle.
The lawsuit began in 2004 when ODNR assessed some landowners for rent on their lakefront property and culminated on September 16, 2011 in a unanimous decision by the Ohio Supreme Court which affirmed the property owners’ rights and rejected the ODNR definition of owners’ property lines.  A Lake County trial court and appeals court had both previously affirmed the property owners’ rights.
“ODNR should have changed their policy years ago and stopped trying to charge us for property we had already purchased,” said OLG president Tony Yankel of Bay Village.  “ODNR just didn’t listen to two lower courts and a 1993 Ohio Attorney General’s opinion that supported our position.
“We didn’t want to take the issue to court but if we hadn’t, ODNR would have gotten away with an illegal taking of our property,” Yankel continued.
“We are only asking the State of Ohio to compensate us for the money we were forced to spend to defend our rights as property owners,” Yankel concluded.  “Our motion does not include compensation for the thousands of volunteer hours that homeowners were forced to spend fighting this policy that was so clearly wrong.“
The Ohio Lakefront Group represents nearly 7,000 property owners.  Its law firm in the proceedings was the Cleveland office of Calfee Halter and Griswold.

Read the Court filing, click here.Motion for Fees

Media Contact: Matthew Henderson