March 21, 2014 9:45 AM
Anneli Fogt, For the Daily Press
VICTORVILLE • San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos on Wednesday night denied any involvement in a lawsuit recently brought against his election opponent Grover Merritt, though he said the suit raises legitimate questions about Merritt’s integrity.
“Its not my campaign, it’s not my political consultant, it’s not me,” Ramos said during a campaign fundraiser at the Green Tree Inn. “It is the attorneys that work for this office, the Public Defender’s Office, Child Support Division, that are taking him to court. I had no say in it. … I have nothing to do with the lawsuit.”
Ramos is running for re-election and Merritt, a veteran San Bernardino County prosecutor, is his only challenger on the June ballot.
The San Bernardino County Public Attorney’s Association filed a lawsuit on Monday against Merritt, alleging he reported erroneous information on his ballot statement. Merritt listed himself as president of the attorney’s association. The statement is written in present tense even though he was unseated from the position in 2010.
Merritt told the Daily Press on Tuesday that San Bernardino County Public Attorney’s Association President John Thomas instigated the suit and that Thomas is “some kind of golfing buddy of Michael Ramos.”
Ramos insisted his friendship with Thomas has nothing to do with the lawsuit.
“I haven’t even talked to John Thomas about it; I purposely did not because I knew the accusations would be (that) it’s political on my part,” said Ramos. “I’ll call (Thomas) a friend, but … I mean it’s a work relationship, he’s a work friend. … It has nothing to do with him being my friend or a golf buddy or whatever. No, nothing at all. In fact I can’t even remember the last time I played golf with John Thomas.”
Merritt defends his ballot statement, saying he had a small amount of room to write his qualifications and was aiming for a bullet-point, resume-style format and therefore wrote it in present tense.
Merritt called the suit “silliness in the political season” earlier this week, and Ramos was asked Wednesday night if he though the suit was frivolous.
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