Wednesday, April 1, 2009
DISCUSSION: STARK CO TREASURER'S CHIEF DEPUTY "FRUSTACI" FIRED - TAXPAYER MONEY MISSING!
UPDATE: 04/02/2009 AT 7:45 A.M.
From the results of an interview with Stark County treasurer Gary Zeigler this afternoon together with information gained from a source last evening, The Report believes the following is a sensible picture of how Chief Deputy Frustaci (earning about $50,000 per year) came to be fired by Zeigler.
On Tuesday (March 31st), The Report believes that Zeigler got a phone call from an area bank (Zeigler refused to identify the bank) informing the treasurer (Zeigler did not say so) that all was not right with the treasurer's bank account in terms of the interest factor. A SCPR source (not Zeigler) has told Report that it was interest that has been drained off the county account in question and not capital funds)
With this information, The Report believes Zeigler did some internal checking and confirmed to himself that there was a problem with the office account balance and satisfied himself that Frustaci was the Stark treasury employee who worked the account. Then, The Report believes Zeigler immediately initiated action to bring in the state auditor (Mary Taylor), Stark County Sheriff Tim Swanson and Stark County Prosecutor John Ferrrero to investigate.
By the way, John Fererro walked into the treasurer's office as yours truly and an Alliance Review reporter were talking with Zeigler. Zeigler excused himself and walked off with Ferrero.
As part of the discussion with Zeigler, (because a federal bank account is a subject of the investigation), he did indicate that there is an possible federal aspect to this matter.
The Report's non-Zeigler source says that as this matter was breaking, Frustaci was either contacted or was contacted (while he was on vacation) a treasurer's office employee and learned of Auditor Taylor's crew contacting the office asking for certain records whereupon Frustaci allegedly told the office contact that nothing was to be given to Taylor until he returned to handle the matter.
How long has the problem been in process? The Report's source (not Zeigler) says upwards of two years.
What could have been the motivation for all of this to have happened? The Report's source (not Zeigler) offers that it is known that Frustaci likes to gamble and the speculation is that covering gambling debts might be a possible motivation, IF it is established that Frustaci is responsible for the money being missing.
Other interesting developments from the The Report/Zeigler conversation include the following:
Frustaci will not be replaced. Zeigler will expand the hours of a couple of employees to make up for the missing employee unit.
Frustaci was a nine year employee who has an accounting degree.
Zeigler has been county treasurer 10 years.
Zeigler denied that Frustaci was hired because of political connections. Zeigler said that the only pre-employment contact with Frustaci prior to hired was seeing him on a golf course.
Treasurer employees including Frustaci are bonded in the amount of $250,000.
Zeigler said he was devastated by the unfolding of the missing funds saga and was working hard to redeem the situation and make sure it never happens again.
-----ORIGINAL REPORT BELOW-----
The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has learned that there is possibly $200,000 or missing in Stark County treasury funds.
Today, The Repository reports that Chief Deputy Vince Frustaci has been fired by Treasurer Gary Zeigler in connection with the missing funds.
In the political community, Frustaci was known to be a "political appointee" and critics of his appointment by Zeigler questioned his utility beyond being a political asset.
The Report notes that Frustaci has been known to write letters to the editor of The Rep lauding the efforts of various county officials including his boss Gary Zeigler.