Pierce Township Board of Trustees sues former member

A federal lawsuit against former Pierce Township Trustee Curt Carl Hartman, alleging that he destroyed public records by deleting them from a laptop computer owned by the township, has been filed by the board of trustees.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Cincinnati’s U.S. District Court Jan. 14, accuses former trustee Hartman, who served the township from Jan. 1998 – Dec. 2005, of “intentionally deleting and destroying all data and software files” before returning the computer to the board of trustees.

According to the lawsuit, Hartman, a lawyer by profession, utilized the laptop computer while in office to correspond electronically with other township officials and to create records of the minutes of trustee meetings.

The suit states that it is unknown how many records were destroyed, but deleting computer records is a violation of state law and a violation of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act; anyone who destroys public records can be held liable for $1,000 a page, the lawsuit states.