Highland County Court of Common Pleas Judge Rocky A. Coss has been appointed to preside over a lawsuit filed by a caterer against the Fayette County Park District.
The Supreme Court of Ohio assigned Coss to oversee court proceedings in Fayette County during 2017 when there is a conflict of interest. Judge Steven Beathard has recused himself from presiding over the suit but did not give a reason in the filings.
Fayette County Prosecutor Jess Weade, representing the county and the Fayette County Park District, said the judge doesn’t have to provide details about why he recused himself and said there could be a litany of reasons to excuse himself. Beathard did not return a call for comment.
Jason Gilmore filed suit July 3 alleging the park district violated the terms of an agreement that gave Gilmore rights to operate a restaurant at The Greens golf course in Fayette County May 2.
Gilmore has named the Fayette County Park District commissioner’s board (David Kiger, Angela Tackett, Bob Pitakos, Dan Stahl and David Lewis) and the commissioners of Fayette County (Jack DeWeese, Tony Anderson and Dan Dean) in the suit.
“We are denying all of his allegations. We deny each and every allegation,” said Weade during a phone interview Friday.
Gilmore is representing himself pro se. He filed an amended complaint Sept. 1 and is asking for a jury demand.
Weade said Coss will make a determination on whether the filing meets the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure for requesting a jury.
Coss graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1969, received his juris doctor degree from the Ohio State University in 1975, and has served as the Highland County Prosecuting Attorney beginning in November of 1976 and served six consecutive terms, according to the Highland County Court of Common Pleas website.
Coss was elected to a six-year term in November of 2008 and re-elected in 2014. He presides over both the General and Domestic Relations Divisions in the courts.
Reach Ashley Bunton at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton.