Magistrate to rule in EL protection order hearing

LISBON — An East Liverpool man is claiming corruption within the city, while the city’s safety service director believes the man and his family are out to stop the city’s housing department from enforcing the law.

Joe Sears Jr. of Ceramic Street and Safety Service Director Brian Allen outlined their cases during a protection order hearing before Common Pleas Court Magistrate Lynsey Lyle-Opalenik on Friday.

Allen filed a protection order against Sears Jr. and his sister, Mary Sears, earlier this month. In turn, Mary Sears filed her own protection order against Allen, although she opted to have it dismissed during her own protection order hearing on Friday.

The protection order she filed against Allen also applied to Sears Jr. and her other brother, William Jackson, meaning Allen was to stay away from all three of them.

During Allen’s protection order hearing Sears Jr. claimed that Allen threatened to shoot him on June 2, when he was walking past Allen’s home. In turn, Allen claims that he is concerned for his safety.

Allen said he did not threaten Sears Jr., and said he only asked why he was in front of his home after seeing him on surveillance camera measuring his bushes.

Sears Jr. said he did not threaten Allen but did say during the meeting that he invited Allen into the street to “handle it like men.” He also said several times during the hearing that he and “everybody in his home” are bipolar and “quick to defend themselves.”

Sears Jr. claimed the issue started when the city refused to pull some bushes in front of his mother’s home. He said he asked about having the bushes pulled after seeing bushes pulled in front of Allen’s home, but was told the city doesn’t do that.

He claimed Allen used his “abuse of power” with the city to have his bushes pulled, but Allen claimed that he wasn’t even aware the bushes were going to be pulled and that they were only pulled because they were in the public right of way and the city needed them removed to work on the storm sewer in that area.

On June 3, Allen and other public officials arrived at Mary Sears’ home and told her that a vehicle on the property needed to be moved about two feet back from the public right of way and that another vehicle on the property would need to be towed.

She and Sears Jr. were not happy and alleged that the city was playing favorites.

Mary Sears recorded the interaction on her cell phone and the video was presented as evidence during the hearing. She can be heard saying more than once to Allen, “I know where you live.”

Allen said during the hearing he is “very concerned” with statements made during that incident that he said the average person would not have known.

He was referring to a statement that was made by Mary Sears that the home he and his wife live in is actually owned by his mother-in-law, and that there are additional surveillance cameras watching it.

“Someone has done research to get to this point and that is what concerns me the most,” Allen said. “I am deathly afraid there is more to this story than is being told.”

He went on to say that he believes it is a direct attempt to stop the housing department from enforcing the law. He also said that Jackson told him in a phone conversation that his family was planning revenge.

Allen played a recording of the conversation for the court and Jackson could be heard saying that “some kind of group” was going to avenge the city, mostly with “crack heads and drug users.”

Jackson was not making threats of his own and was telling Allen out of concern.

“What are these people planning? What are they up to?” Allen said during the hearing.

Lyle-Opalenik said she would take the matter under advisement and issue a written decision.

Mary Sears apologized to Allen during her hearing before Lyle-Opalenik.

“I am very sorry that I disrespected you that day,” she told Allen.

With her case dismissed, the temporary protection order remains in effect, however. The protection order Allen has out against Sears Jr. remains in effect.