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Troubled Ohio Businessman Sues Brown Over Campaign Ad

A North Canton businessman with a questionable ethical background is suing Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, claiming a campaign ad calling him a "crooked businessman" with ties to Brown's Republican opponent has defamed him. 


Brown's campaign ad targets his Republican opponent, Republcian Jim Renacci. It claims Renacci tried to intervene in a California consumer complaint filed against Ben Suarez in exchange for donations to Renacci's 2012 congressional campaign.

Suarez's lawsuit says statements in the ad are false and defamatory.

Suarez was acquitted in 2014 on federal charges of making illegal contributions to Renacci and then-U.S. Senate candidate and current state Treasurer Josh Mandel. Suarez was sentenced to 15 months for witness tampering.

Brown's campaign has yet to comment.

In June, the Associated Press reported Suarez' company organized employees and suppliers in a retaliatory effort to bring down two prominent Ohio Democrats. 

A memo obtained by the AP detailed The Justice Association LLC's plans for legal and political attacks against U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and Attorney General nominee Steven Dettelbach.

The association is offering "rewards" of up to 100 thousand dollar for evidence it could use to bring class-action racketeering claims against the Obama-era Justice Department. Suarez Corporation Industries is behind the effort. 

Ben Suarez went to prison for witness tampering following a 2014 investigation led by Dettelbach into contributions made to Mandel and Renacci.

Jim has been with WCBE since 1996. Before that he worked as a reporter at another Columbus radio station, and for three newspapers in Southwest Florida.
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