Protest set against county GOP chief

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 8, 2008

An eastern end man has asked the city of Ironton for permission to protest in front of the Lawrence County Courthouse next week.

Jonathan E. Ater said he will use his protest to call for Ray T. Dutey’s

“unconditional resignation” as Republican party chairman. Dutey said he has no plans to resign and said the protest was another episode in a four-year-old political vendetta against him.

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Ater alleges that one of Dutey’s relatives — a former county employee — stole money from the county and though the money has been paid back, he claims Dutey has tried to use his political influence to cover up the matter. Dutey said the matter is being investigated by the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office and is not being covered up.

“I would like to say that it is a family matter and to the extent of speaking as a public servant, the situation is out of my hands. It’s an ongoing investigation and I have no further comment,” Dutey said.

Lawrence County Prosecutor J.B. Collier, Jr., was out of town and not available for comment on the investigation.

The Ironton Tribune has chosen not publish the woman’s name because charges have not been filed.

Ater said Dutey has created a schism between eastern end and western end Republicans.

“They do not trust him up here (in the eastern end),” Ater said.

He said Dutey often does not support his own party’s candidates and four years ago even made a remark to that effect. Jonathan Ater said when his brother, Kenneth Ater, ran against the late George Patterson for Lawrence County Commission, Dutey was quoted in a media report as saying Kenneth Ater would be beaten by Patterson.

Ater said when Dutey was asked if he made the comment, Dutey denied it but refused to ask the reporter for a retraction and refused to endorse Kenneth Ater, a fellow GOP member.

Dutey said Ater is not at all correct about this incident. He faxed The Ironton Tribune a letter from New York Magazine reporter Mark Jacobson who admitted he had inadvertently misquoted Dutey and apologized for having done so.

Jonathan Ater concedes his brother would probably have lost the race anyway.

“He (Patterson) was a tough opponent,” Ater said.

Dutey said the four-year-old political spat is at the

crux of the Ater anger.

“John Ater has a personal vendetta against me that stems from his brother’s defeat for county commissioner four years ago. I regret that he has chosen to demonstrate his dislike for me in such a public manner,” Dutey said.

Ater said he hopes Dutey will resign before the scheduled protest and save him the trouble of having one. He said he thinks others may join him, but he does not know who will stand with him at the time.

The city permit will allow Ater to protest between the hours of 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.