WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – A visiting judge in Trumbull County has refused to throw out a civil protection order against county Commissioner Niki Frenchko.
Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Patricia Cosgrove ruled Thursday that the protection order for Commissioners’ Clerk Paula Vivoda-Klotz will remain in effect, including that Frenchko must stay at least 25 feet away from Vivoda-Klotz. Frenchko can still attend meetings as long as she maintains that distance away from Vivoda-Klotz, and she is permitted to contact her via phone and email for county business.
On Tuesday, Frenchko’s attorneys, Justin Markota and David Betras, filed a motion to terminate the civil protection order, maintaining that a full hearing should have been scheduled within 10 days of the protection order being issued.
The hearing had been set for Jan. 19, one day after that, due to the visiting judge’s availability.
Judge Cosgrove stated in her decision that the argument didn’t have merit.
“Respondent has not shown how she was prejudiced by the one day delay. In fact, the respondent has taken advantage of the delay to schedule a deposition of the petitioner on January 17, 2022,” the decision read.
Vivoda-Klotz has alleged that Frenchko has engaged in harassment and retaliation against her. She said in one such incident, Frenchko locked her in an office, and in another incident, “ripped a recording machine out of the wall socket” near where she was sitting. She said both incidents caused her to believe Frenchko would physically harm her.
Frenchko previously released a statement in response to the allegations, saying they were lies by “insubordinate staff who are working in concert with establishment politicians to prevent me from carrying out my duties.”