By Ed Runyan
The recently retired chief of the Eagle Joint Fire District, which serves Hubbard and Hubbard Township, and his wife have sued Garrick Krlich, the man at the center of the Hubbard horn-honking controversy.
John J. Clemente and Marlene Clemente of 723 East Liberty Street in Hubbard filed the suit June 1 in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court against Krlich, of 713 East Liberty Street.
It is assigned to Judge Peter Kontos.
The suit says Krlich created a website about April 1 called “Small Town Terrorism” that contains personal information about the Clementes that could allow visitors to steal the identity of the Clementes. The website also contains false and defamatory statements, the suit said.
The suit seeks monetary damages and a declaratory judgment requiring Krlich to remove personal information from the site. The suit seeks a permanent injunction restraining Krlich from using, publishing or disseminating personal information about the Clementes.
Krlich’s attorney, Robert Henken, said Krlich paid a professional to create the website and that the information contained on it came from public records.
Any personal information about the Clementes, “if it was there, has been deleted,” Henken said. As for false and defamatory information, Henken said all references on the site are substantiated by public records.
The suit was filed on the Clementes’ behalf by attorneys David Betras and James R. Wise.
Krlich has been to Trumbull County Common Pleas Court numerous times in recent years seeking civil protection orders against individuals Krlich says have been driving past his house and honking at all hours of the day and night.
In some of the cases, Patrick McCarthy, Trumbull County magistrate, has granted protection orders that order individuals to discontinue their honking. In others, the magistrate has refused the orders. As of last December, Krlich had sought 22 protection orders.
Krlich has said he filed the protection orders because the Hubbard Police Department and Girard Municipal Court had not stopped the honking.
The website gives a lengthy description of how Krlich says a dispute between him and John J. Clemente began in 2007, when Krlich attempted to purchase the home at 723 East Liberty Street belonging to a member of Clemente’s family.
Krlich, a remodeling contractor who buys and rents properties, was ultimately unsuccessful in buying the property, according to the website. John J. Clemente acquired the property in December 2009, according to the Trumbull County Auditor’s office.
The website says the horn honking began amid the conflict over the real- estate deal. At one point in 2009, Krlich says he counted 100 horn-honking incidents in one day.
Some public employees have participated in the honking, the website says. Vehicles belonging to local police and fire departments are among the vehicles captured on audio and video recordings honking near Krlich’s home, the website says.