Spirit EMS issues city of Piqua legal letter regarding Springcreek Township


By Kathleen Leese

For Miami Valley Today

PIQUA — Spirit Medical Transport LLC has filed a demand letter through its attorney to the city of Piqua “to enforce the mutual aid agreement and retract statements” involving its contract with Springcreek Township in Piqua.

Spirit Medical Transport was originally contracted by Springcreek Township Trustees to provide emergency medical services for the township in January 2024, despite objections by Springcreek residents. Later, that contract was rescinded after township residents expressed displeasure and trustees agreed to sign a contract with the city of Piqua instead. The contract with the city of Piqua became effective March 2024; however, the township still must pay Spirit $161,000. as required by the contract.

In a copy of the demand letter, dated March 5, 2024, that was obtained by Miami Valley Today, Jeana Singleton, of Brennan, Manna, Diamond LLC, attorney for Spirit Medical Transport, wrote the letter was serving as “Spirit’s formal notice of the city of Piqua’s anticipatory breach of the Greater Dayton Area Fire Department’s mutual aid agreement, and second, as Spirit’s demand for immediate remedy as detailed herein.”

According to Brian Hathaway, CEO of Spirit Medical Transport, there has still not been a response from the city of Piqua to the demand letter.

The letter notes that on March 29, 2022, Spirit was added to an agreement circulated by the Montgomery County Prosecuting Attorney Mathias Heck Jr., in which it states there is “no expiration date.” The certification was written to “all participants in the Greater Dayton Area Fire Departments mutual aid agreement,” which among others in Miami County, included the city of Piqua Fire Department. A copy of that agreement was provided to Miami Valley Today.

The demand letter states, “as the city is aware, they (the city of Piqua) substantially increased their prices for fire/EMS services when renewing their contract with Springcreek Township. As a direct result, the Springcreek Trustees entered into an agreement with Spirit effective Jan. 8, 2024, for Spirit to replace the city of Piqua as their EMS provider.”

The letter states, in response to the contract between Spirit and Springcreek Township, the city manager (Paul Oberdorfer), released a statement “declaring that the city would not provide mutual aid EMS services to Spirit, a ‘for-profit firm,’ a direct violation of the … agreement.”

The letter, which reviews the history of the negotiations with Springcreek Township, the city of Piqua and Spirit, notes the city of Piqua tried to “interfere” with the agreement by “adamantly refusing to provide mutual aid to Spirit, and therefore, Springcreek.” The letter goes on to state the city of Piqua did not have “the Springcreek citizens’ health and safety in mind, but rather their own economic interests.”

The letter also claims the city of Piqua “has cited Spirit being a for-profit company as their reasoning for not providing mutual aid, but interestingly, the city’s website declares the city of Piqua as a ‘very business friendly city.’”

The letter alleges that “not only does the foregoing conduct constitute an anticipatory breach of the agreement, provided the city does not provide 30 days notice of their intent to withdraw from the agreement to all parties of the agreement, the conduct also constitutes tortious interference with the third party agreement between Springcreek and Spirit, as the city has no justification for not providing mutual aid to Spirit, other than wanting to provide EMS services to Springcreek themselves.”

It was noted that “to the extent this matter remains unresolved, Spirit will evaluate its options to pursue immediate legal remedies, including injunctive relief, in accordance with Ohio law,” Singleton wrote.

Hathaway told Miami Valley Today, “The fact of the matter is, we still have a contract until Dec. 31, 2025. If we were requested, we would still be there.”

He added that under the mutual aid agreement, they are still “obligated” to respond.

Hathaway said that while the matter has been turned over to their attorney and a letter sent, “the city of Piqua has been unresponsive.” He said Springcreek Township Trustees “wrote a check to us.” While he noted that he will not discuss possible breach of contract, Hathaway said, “we’re just not getting dispatched.”

Additionally, Hathaway said, Spirit Medical Transport does “not want to be in the middle of a political mudslinging contest. We were called (to provide EMS services to Springcreek Township) because of political indifferences. We’ve been persecuted.”

Despite the fact Springcreek Township Trustees are now using the city of Piqua EMS and Fire services, Hathaway said it will not stop them from responding.

“If anyone from Springcreek Township calls us, we will respond,” Hathaway said.

Piqua City Manager Paul Oberdorfer responded in a statement to Miami Valley Today, “The city of Piqua has an agreement to provide fire and emergency medical services to Springcreek Township and continues to offer these services reliably. Officials are in receipt of a letter from Spirit EMS and have no further information to share at this time.”

Tom Hill, chairman of the Springcreek Township Trustees, said during their meeting Monday evening, April 22, that they had no knowledge of the demand letter to the city of Piqua from Spirit Medical Transport.

The trustees held an executive session at the end of their meeting on Monday evening and according to Chris Englert, their legal counsel, who is also a Miami County assistant prosecutor and was present for the meeting, it was for the purpose of “potential imminent or pending litigation.” No further information was provided.

The writer is a regular contributor to Miami Valley Today.

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