Cloverdale Town Council members Judy Whitaker and John Davis filed suit last week against two local real estate investors, accusing them of bankrolling the lawsuit brought by four town board candidates after the 2003 Cloverdale election.
The lawsuit, filed Nov. 5, seeks to recover unpaid attorney feeds and court costs from John Setty and Curt Sinclair, since the original plaintiffs in the case paid only $3,000 of the $11,700 a judge ordered them to pay in January 2006, according to the lawsuit.
Of the four candidates, Phyllis Gaddis, David Brinkman, Cathleen Monaco and Francis Sweeney, three -- Gaddis, Brinkman and Monaco - filed for bankruptcy, the lawsuit says. Only one, Sweeney, paid the debt.
In 2003, Davis, Jim McCullough, Sweeney and Monaco ran for two At-Large seats. Davis received 221 votes, McCullough 217 votes, Sweeney 157 votes and Gaddis 155 votes. Whitaker was unopposed for the Ward One seat, though Brinkman, a write-in candidate, mustered 140 votes to her 240. Ward Two candidate Brice Jones was also unopposed, though write-in Monaco got 109 votes to Jones' 255.
Less than 10 days later, the four losing candidates filed a suit, alleging that some eligible voters were not permitted to cast their ballots while some ineligible voters were.
A special circuit court judge ruled against the plaintiffs in the 2003 suit, though they appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeals, eventually losing there, as well.
According to the court documents, Whitaker and Davis learned of Setty and Sinclair's role in financing the suit from Gaddis' testimony at a 2007 bankruptcy court hearing.
The suit says Setty and Sinclair are liable for Whitaker and Davis' attorney fees because of their "malicious" support of the "groundless and frivolous" lawsuits.
Council president Don Sublett defeated Davis in the Nov. 6 election by a three-to-one margin. Whitaker did not run for re-election.
Gaddis unsuccessfully ran for an At-Large town council seat, taking fourth place Tuesday night and losing to the second-place Steven Caulkins by 71 votes.
Monaco ran against Clerk-Treasurer Patti Truax and lost by seven votes.