CINCINNATI — A woman is accusing a state lawmaker of breaking promises the lawmaker made to her more than a decade ago in order to convince her to become pregnant and give up the children for adoption.
An attorney for Jamie Robinson filed the lawsuit against state Rep. Sara Carruthers, who represents part of Butler County in the Ohio House of Representatives, in Hamilton County court this month.
According to the lawsuit, Robinson was working as a waitress at a Hamilton restaurant frequented by Carruthers and her parents in 2006 when the family "befriended" her. They eventually came to Robinson with an offer to allow herself to become impregnated with donor sperm and allow Carruthers to adopt any children she birthed.
In exchange, Robinson alleges, Carruthers offered to cover all the costs associated with the pregnancy and provide a home for Robinson and Robinson's three children.
Robinson "was near destitute" at the time and agreed to the deal, according to the lawsuit. However, there was no mention of the home in the adoption agreement.
When she eventually gave birth to twins and Carruthers adopted them, Robinson said that Carruthers reassured her that she'd still give her the house.
Robinson and her children did live in the house for another year, she said. By then, "it was too late" for Robinson to get the adoption undone.
"That year was no accident — at it happens, Ohio law permits adoptions obtained by fraud to be set aside for up to a year afterwards," the lawsuit states.
Carruthers stopped paying for the house then, causing Robinson and her children to be removed with the threat of eviction, according to the lawsuit.
"Thus, Carruthers ... forced [Robinson] to become homeless," the lawsuit states.
Robinson said she reached out to several attorneys, but gave up the issue after being threatened with criminal charges.
In a prepared statement to WCPO news partner the Journal-News, Carruthers 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 told the Journal-News. "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."
It wasn't until Carruthers texted Robinson in January 2018 to inform her about plans to run for office that the issue came up again, Robinson alleges in the lawsuit.
"Some of these people are really unscrupulous and will do anything to bring someone down so trusting anyone is more than difficult," Carruthers' purported text states. "I've never seen anything like it."
During a phone conversation a couple months later, which the lawsuit states Robinson recorded, Carruthers "made various promises to make things right."
After Carruthers won the primary election, "she went silent," according to the lawsuit. Robinson took that as a sign "she would not fulfill her promises." Then Carruthers had an attorney threaten Robinson with criminal prosecution, Robinson said.
Robinson is seeking $289,900 for the value of the home plus interest, and another $190,800 for rent she paid between 2007 and 2018 as the result of not owning the home.
She's accusing Carruthers of breach of oral contract, promissory estoppel, fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Carruthers told the Journal-News that she "will not be bullied" and that her children "deserve to be free from adult intimidation and attacks."