On June 4, 2020, nine months after their previous suit was dismissed and deemed frivolous, Mayor Andy Gardner’s supporters—Tony Miller, Vicki Miller, Jeffrey Fruscella, Steve Crone, and Jack Hay—filed their second suit in Lake County Probate Court seeking to remove 18-year Councilwoman Nancy Fellows, and Gardner’s opposition in the recent mayoral election, from office. Fellows, outraged, said the frivolous suit was yet another example of Gardner and his supporters bullying those who speak out against them.
Two weeks later, Gardner’s supporter Tony Miller created a Gofundme page soliciting donations to pay his and his team’s expenses related to the suit. The fundraising effort comes on the same day the News-Herald reported that claims made under oath by the Millers, Fruscella, Crone, and Hay were false. Explaining their strategy in bringing the suit and asking for money, Miller says on the Gofundme page:
“Our counts are very well prepared and substantiated and we are confident we can prove more than one count of misfeasance and or malfeasance. When we win all court costs and legal fees will be assigned to the defendant and money received from this fundraiser would be returned. If, by some catastrophic event, we could not prove 1 out of 19 counts of misfeasance and or malfeasance we would be responsible for legal fees and court costs. To date I am personally vested approximately $1000 and one or two others lesser amounts. Our next deposit to the court is a minmum of $750 deposit to cover juror fees and will be due in the next couple weeks.”
So far the campaign has raised $65 of the $2,500 Miller and friends are seeking from Wilda Jaros, Philomena Listoria and one anonymous donor.