Ohio Supreme Court temporarily suspends judge from divorce case over possible romantic relationship
Leslie Ann Celebrezze is a divorce court judge in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, which includes the state's largest city: Cleveland. According to Mark Puente, a reporter for The Marshall Project, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy has temporarily suspended Celebrezze from a divorce case involving Cleveland-area businessman Jason Jardine.
Jardine's attorney, Puente reports, filed an "affidavit of disqualification" against Celebrezze. The affidavit doesn't necessarily mean that Celebrezze will be permanently barred from the case, but it does mean that she is removed from it until Kennedy reaches a decision.
Jardine, according to Puente, was suspicious of Celebrezze's relationship with receiver Mark Dottore — a relationship the Marshall Project has been investigating.
"Dottore has served as a receiver on cases in her courtroom on numerous occasions," Puente explains. "He even served as campaign treasurer when she ran successfully for her judgeship in 2008. Her campaign headquarters is listed under his business address."
Puente notes that in divorce cases, judges hire receivers "to act as neutral parties to take possession and control of all marital property, including real estate cash, equipment, deposit accounts and businesses."
"Receivers have the sole authority to operate and manage the businesses and assets in their discretion throughout the litigation," the reporter points out. "After taking an oath and posting a $100 bond, they take over."
The reporter adds, "According to the affidavit of disqualification, Jardine hired a private investigator because he was suspicious of the relationship. The investigator filmed the pair kissing on the lips outside Delmonico's Steakhouse in Independence, (Ohio) on March 22 and Celebrezze leaving Dottore's house during business hours on several Fridays."
Celebrezze, however, denies having any type of romantic relationship with Dottore.
The judge told The Marshall Project, "I'm Italian, and I frequently kiss my family and friends on the lips when I greet them or say goodbye."
Find The Marshall Project's full article at this link.
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