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Dover Law Director clashes with Mayor’s family

| January 19, 2022
Dover Mayor Richard Homrighausen, left, reads his report at Tuesday's Council meeting as Law Director Doug O'Meara listens. (Bill Hammerstrom, WJER)

DOVER (WJER) (January 19, 2022) – City Council’s meeting Tuesday ended with Law Director Doug O’Meara questioning the mayor’s son about recruiting city employees to raise money for his father’s re-election campaigns, and the mayor’s son daring the law director to take him to court.

Nick Homrighausen is Mayor Richard Homrighausen’s son and the community economic development executive director for Harrison County.

Three Dover employees testified in a City Council investigation last year that the mayor and his son told them to solicit donations for his campaign’s annual golf outing. The mayor fired those three employees in December.

Nick Homrighausen had been quietly attending Council’s meetings for months until Tuesday when O’Meara addressed him directly.

“Have you solicited classified employees to raise money for the Committee to Re-elect Homrighausen Mayor in the last 10 years?” O’Meara asked. “Did you send emails out from Harrison County to solicit classified employees to collect money for the Committee to Re-elect Homrighausen Mayor? You don’t want to answer?”

“Take me to court. I’ll answer whatever you want,” Nick Homrighausen answered.

Mayor Homrighausen eventually told O’Meara to sit down. O’Meara then asked the mayor the same question.

“Doug, take us to court! Let’s go!” Nick Homrighausen yelled, before Council President Shane Gunnoe gaveled the argument.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, O’Meara implied the mayor’s wife, Linda Homrighausen, took 46-year-old documents now missing from Council Chambers. She said she didn’t remove anything from the room.

The mayor offered no comment in response to the allegations. He called O’Meara’s questioning “totally uncalled for.”

After the meeting ended, City Auditor Nicole Stoldt told Nick Homrighausen to stop staring at her, suggesting he was trying to intimidate her. He denied that accusation.

Three police officers made sure everyone got to their cars safely and without incident.

Tensions have been high in Dover government for a year. Council wants the mayor to resign, citing several areas of concern. O’Meara says some city officials are getting frustrated with how long the state auditor is taking to investigate Homrighausen.

O’Meara’s line of questioning Tuesday is his latest attempt to shed light on actions by the mayor that he believes will soon lead to charges from the state auditor. The mayor has refused to comment on the investigation or the allegations.

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