ELYRIA — Independent mayoral candidate Tim Quinn is threatening to sue Apple Festival organizers who say only Democratic and Republican candidates can set up in a free booth on the steps of the old county courthouse.
“We’re flat-out telling them it’s going to end in a lawsuit,” Quinn said.
A sharply worded letter from Quinn’s attorney, Timothy Shimko, accused Apple Festival Committee Chairwoman Linda Brown of favoring the Democratic Party.
The letter asked for a copy of festival policies that restrict booth space on the courthouse steps during the annual September festival to individuals in a political party.
“My client believes you are restricting his right to free speech and denying him equal access to the public because of your own political affiliation and to give an unfair advantage to the Democratic Party,” the letter stated.
Quinn is challenging Democratic Mayor Bill Grace, while Republicans plan to name Ray Noble to replace John Howard on the ballot after Howard withdrew from the race Wednesday.
Brown did not return calls seeking comment, but Apple Festival Committee member Barry Hubbard said the committee discussed the letter at a meeting Wednesday.
“We have received the letter and are reviewing it at this time,” Hubbard said.
The committee, Hubbard said, “wants to be consistent with what we’ve done in the past.” That means independent candidates are charged $150 to rent a booth.
When Elyria Schools had bond issues on the ballot, committees backing the issue were required to rent a booth, Hubbard said.
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