Butler County lawmaker accused of fraud, ‘illegal adoption contract’

Sara Carruthers. ARCHIVE PHOTO
Caption
Sara Carruthers. ARCHIVE PHOTO

A lawsuit filed in Hamilton County alleges that Ohio Rep. Sara Carruthers adopted twins more than a decade ago but failed to live up to a promise that she would provide a home for the birth mother and her three children.

Jamie Robinson, of Hamilton County, claims in the civil lawsuit filed Feb. 5 that the freshman Hamilton Republican lawmaker reaffirmed that promise in a March 2018 phone conversation which “brought back, literally, the wounds of the past,” causing her to “relive the entire ordeal.”

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Among other allegations, Robinson claims Carruthers breached an oral contract and “made promises … to induce her into not disclosing an illegal adoption contract.”

The lawsuit’s allegations include fraud, breach of oral contract, promissory estoppel and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Robinson claims Carruthers is liable for more than $480,000.

Carruthers, in a prepared statement, called the lawsuit “heinous,” and said it “would be detrimental to her children.”

“This lawsuit is simply the latest effort by this individual to extort money from me,” Carruthers said. “It has no merit and is designed to pressure me into giving someone money who is not owed anything, nor deserves anything from me, by threatening to make public the adoption of my children.”

Carruthers said she “will not be bullied” and that her children “deserve to be free from adult intimidation and attacks.”

Robinson claims Carruthers promised in a March 21, 2018, phone conversation she would “make good’ on the 2007 and 2008 promises of providing a home in exchange for having a child or children Carruthers could adopt.

During the adoption process, Carruthers and her mother told Robinson “that the house had to be separate and apart from the adoption agreement, but that they could, and would, legally ‘gift’ her the house,” according to the suit.

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Robinson claims Carruthers approached Robinson about the adoption plan sometime in 2006 while Robinson was a waitress at the Coach House Tavern in Hamilton, which Robinson said Carruthers and her family frequented.

Carruthers and her parents, who wanted grandchildren, said they would pay for all medical expenses, the suit claims. They also agreed to pay rent on a home in Hamilton, Robinson claims.

Rent was paid for a year, but Robinson was forced out of the home, and "Carruthers and her parents forced (Robinson) to become homeless," according to the lawsuit. Carruthers and her parents honored the verbal agreement for a year "until it was too late for (Robinson) to seek to set aside the adoptions as obtained by fraud," it says.

A promise of a home was not in the adoption contract, the suit says.

In January 2018, Carruthers sent a text message to Robinson and mentioned her then-impending announcement to run for the Ohio Statehouse, the suit says. The two then talked by phone.

Carruthers made “various promises to make things right … specifically to pay (Robinson) the amount of loss she sustained from not being provided the home in exchange for her non-disclosure during and immediately following Carruthers’ campaign,” the suit says.

Carruthers won election to the 51st Ohio House District in November 2018. Robinson said she did not discuss the alleged agreement with the media or Carruthers’ political opponents.

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Robinson claims that Carruthers had “minimal contact” until January 2018 and that after Carruthers won the May primary she “went silent” which was “demonstrating that (Carruthers) would not fulfill her promises.”

“Ms. Robinson never wanted to take this step, and litigation was a last resort, but she has been left with no choice,” Robinson’s attorney, Christopher Wiest, told the Journal-News. “She now looks for justice in court.”

A hearing has been set for 2:30 p.m. on April 22 with Hamilton County Judge Melba Marsh.

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