Joe Motil

City of Columbus officials are now doing what they should have done in early 2023 to prevent their repeated blunders and resulting harms concerning the Greyhound/Barons bus depot on North Wilson Road.

A March 1, 2024 email from city attorney Section Chief Steve Dunbar states: “Next week’s Greyhound hearing is being continued. City, Barons and Greyhound are doing a search for alternative sites. I’ll let you know as soon as we get a new date. It will be about sixty days out.”

If a new trial date is not set for another two months, it will be nearly a year that this bus terminal disaster began to play out.  

Barons officials had reached out to city officials requesting assistance in early 2023 to find a new location for their bus terminal after they could not come to terms with COTA on renewing their lease at the West Spring Street COTA location. The city refused to help Barons find a suitable location.

Subsequently, city of Columbus officials knowingly allowed the Greyhound/Barons bus depot on North Wilson Road to operate without a certificate of occupancy beginning in late June of 2023. Complaints were voiced to city officials in early July. Mayor Ginther’s office responded to those complaints on July 3, 2023 stating “Greyhound is private property and that issues should be brought to the Greyhound company.”

After further complaints from neighbors, dozens of police runs, and a deadly shooting at the bus depot, the Mayor and city attorney’s office finally decided to act in late August by filing a lawsuit in Environmental Court against Greyhound/Barons. 

But on October 11, 2023, Ginther poisoned the trial by engaging in ex parte communications with Judge Stephanie Mingo. To the dismay of several law professors, Judge Mingo did not disclose that Mayor Ginther was the official who participated in the ex parte communication on that day until December 8, 2023 a month after the mayor’s November 7, 2023 election.

On December 12, Judge Mingo recused herself from the city’s lawsuit and Gary Dumm, a retired Judge from Circleville, Ohio has replaced her. The result has been further monthslong delays in ending the bus depot fiasco.

The city’s reluctance to assist Greyhound/Barons to find a suitable location more than a year ago and bus passenger service providers such as Greyhound/Baron’s being excluded as a partner in our LinkUS regional transportation, would have avoided this unnecessary, lengthy, and costly tax payer trial. Ginther and others in the city government need to be held accountable.