The Republican office spent nearly $100,000 processing records for the case.



The Republican office spent nearly $100,000 processing records for the case.
CLEVELAND (AP) -- A Cuyahoga County commissioner has decided to drop his lawsuit accusing state Republican officeholders of awarding unbid contracts in return for campaign contributions.
Democrat Tim Hagan said he feared the wide-ranging lawsuit would become a distraction in next year's race for governor. He also cited mounting legal fees.
"The attorney general's office has an unlimited amount of resources they can throw at this," Hagan told The Columbus Dispatch. "They can tie me up forever. I just feel it's a distraction from the campaign that will ensue in the next year. I just hope the press and prosecutors will take it up now rather than have it appear as a sour-grapes case."
Hagan's attorney, Ken Seminatore, said he'll file a voluntary notice to dismiss the case early next week.
Against unbid contracts
Hagan's lawsuit, filed in 2004, accused Gov. Bob Taft, Attorney General Jim Petro and other GOP officeholders of awarding billions of dollars in unbid contracts to vendors who inflated prices. Proceeds were then "kicked back" as political contributions, the lawsuit said.
Petro and other Republican officeholders had dismissed the litigation as party politics.
Hagan suffered a setback Nov. 30 when a Cuyahoga County judge dismissed many of the allegations in his case -- including bribery, theft and receiving stolen property -- but stopped short of throwing out the entire suit.
Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora, the chairman of the county Democratic Party, said that without financial backing, the stakes were too high for Hagan to press on with the case.
"If the court were to rule against him, he'd be held personally accountable," Dimora said, adding that a judge could find Hagan liable for the defendants' legal fees if the court determined the lawsuit was frivolous.
"Even though the complaint he filed was legitimate, he feels he simply cannot afford to take the risk," Dimora told The Plain Dealer.
Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett said his office had spent nearly $100,000 to process records requested in the case.
Bennett said he recently discussed the case's mounting cost with Hagan, who told him he was preparing to drop the suit.
"His attorney was subpoenaing people left and right about a month ago," Bennett said.
"It was getting awfully expensive. There was no end in sight to the records being requested."