Tuesday, July 27, 2010


UPDATE:  07/28/2008

Today's "status conference" has been postponed.  The SCPR has been informed that Judge Marvin Shapiro will not be the judge to replace the recused Judge John Haas and that the Ohio Supreme Court is in the process of selecting another judge.


How much is Stark County's "Rainy Day Fund" going to get hit by the recent revelation that the missing funds from the Stark County treasury (about $3 million) of which $2.46 million is due to the admitted theft by former treasury Chief Deputy Vince Frustaci?
Probably about $2 million, but it could be significantly less.

How is that?

By the action of local citizen activist and attorney Craig Conley.

First of all, he is forcing the hand of Stark County Prosecutor John Ferrero on the matter of pursuing Stark County Treasurer Gary D. Zeigler for recovery from his personal/individual assets.

On July 2nd Conley filed a lawsuit on the behalf of Stark County taxpayers in the name of Bethlehem Township citizen Tom Marcelli against Stark County Treasurer Gary D. Zeigler in his personal/individual capacity (which means going after Zeigler's personal/real property holdings if a judgment is obtained).

Judge Haas of the Stark County Common Pleas Court has recused himself and the case has been taken up by visiting judge Marvin Shapiro of Summit County.  Shapiro retired from the Summit Court of Common Pleas on March 31, 2008.

Stark Countians will know more tomorrow the date and time for a "status conference" called by Judge Shapiro) about who (Prosecutor Ferrero or Attorney Conley) will be trying the case.

This the lawsuit that could help Stark County taxpayers dip below the $2 million loss (after bonds, insurance and other resources have been collected on). 

The SCPR believes this lawsuit should have been filed on June 25th (the date that the "Bill of Information" against Frustaci was filed in federal court and to which Frustaci pled guilty).

A legal fiction was circulating around government and political circles (which the SCPR believes was generated by the Stark County Prosecutor's Office) that the suit was premature because Frustaci had not yet been sentenced.

Conley says that such is not the case.

Second of all, Conley, on July 22nd, opened up a second front in forcing Prosecutor John Ferrero's hand on initiating action to collect on bonds (2 - $250,000 bonds) and an insurance policy ($500,000) that the county owns on the performance of Treasurer Zeigler in terms of any losses to county funds during his term(s) in office.

He wrote Stark County commissioners and Stark County Auditor Kim Perez that they had an obligation to pursue the bonds and insurance coverage on Zeigler and, in the case of insurance, on Frustaci.
Yesterday, Perez responded with a request to Ferrero to proceed.

Again, Ferrero's action, when taken, will be over a month after the filing of the federal Bill of Information against Frustaci.

Why so long?

The commissioners and Perez were asleep at the switch.  However, they were relying on Prosecutor Ferrero to inform them as to what their legal position is as well as the timetable action.  The SCPR believes that the problem with with the prosecutor's office.

Again, there were legal fictions being floated about on preconditions for filing.  First, the necessity of sentencing of Frustaci and secondly contract language in the bond/insurance policies requiring the passage of a certain period of time before suit could be filed.

Conley tells the SCPR that such is not the case.

Moreover, Conley tells The Report that if suit on the bonds/insurance is not filed by this Friday, he will be filing another suit in the name of Tom Marcelli as a surrogate for Stark County taxpayers.

If it were not for Craig T. Conley, the SCPR believes that the taxpayers of Stark County would be in jeopardy of losing their ability to recover from Zeigler on what Conley says is his "strict liability" for the missing funds (remember, nearly $3 million) which occurred during his terms in office.

 Last week Prosecutor Ferrero lambasted Conley in local media for "costing taxpayers money."  Quite to the contrary.   Conley has potentially saved taxpayers $2 million.  A public records request by Conley for records evidencing the costs that Ferrero claim has gone unproduced upon because?:  "the do not exist." Conley says he is being told by prosecutor officer personnel.

Attorney Craig T. Conley has been a prime mover for the Stark County taxpayers and is due a debt of gratitude from all of us!!!

 By the way here is a copy of Ferrero's response to Stark County Auditor Kim Perez's request for Ferrero to proceed on the bond/insurance collections.

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