Saturday, August 14, 2010
ZEIGLER CASE DELAYED: WHILE HIS ATTORNEYS CLEAR UP "TECHNICAL" PROBLEM? JUDGE TO RE-CONSIDER WHETHER OR NOT ZEIGLER IS TO HAVE HIS ATTORNEY FEES PAID BY STARK COUNTY TAXPAYERS
Updated at 2:00 PM
Stark County Treasurer Gary D. Zeigler's original "team" of lawyers - Thompson & Bishop (of the Akron area) - were nowhere to be seen yesterday within the confines of the Stark County Courthouse. At least, yours truly did not see either of them.
It appears that Zeigler (presumably on the advice of Thompson & Bishop) has determined that new legal counsel is needed to handle his defense to the lawsuit filed by Stark County Prosecutor John Ferrero on July 28, 2010 to collect from bonding companies, an insurance company and Treasurer Zeigler himself (personally and individually) in a prosecutorial quest to recover for Stark County taxpayers nearly $3 million in missing funds that has occurred during the time Zeigler has held office (hereinafter referred to as LAWSUIT).
Most of the missing money is from the $2.46 million that former Chief Deputy Vince Frustaci has admitted to stealing. He made his admission on June 25, 2010 in the U.S. District Court for Northern Ohio.
The SCPR had been hearing that there was some question as to whether or not the Thompson & Bishop generated (for Zeigler) Motion for Temporary Restraining Order in response to the LAWSUIT was legally sufficient.
It is interesting to note that an apparently "curative" Zeigler affidavit (not filed with the original motion) was filed yesterday, to wit:
In the video that accompanies this blog, Judge H.F. Inderlied, Jr (sitting by assignment of the Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court) seems to confirm that there needs to be a re-work of Zeigler's effort to stop Stark County commissioners from removing him from office.
A new legal team from Avon, Ohio (Wickens, Herzer, Cook, Panza and Battista, a 28 person law firm) has entered their appearance and conducted Zeigler's representation yesterday.
From Judge Inderlied's remarks from the bench, it appears Stark Countians can expect a replacement for the legally "fragile" Motion for Temporary Restraining Order by Tuesday, August 17th. The county commissioner filed case was about collecting money; not removing Zeigler. The parties agreed that Zeigler's counsel would file a Writ of Prohibition which will likely also be heard by Judge Inderlied.
Judge Inderlied also addresses his intent to re-examine the law (on the initiative of a motion filed by Stark County prosecutors) as to whether or not Zeigler is entitled to have Stark County taxpayers to pay for his legal representation on the LAWSUIT.
Stark Countians should be pleased that Judge Inderlied in yesterday's hearing is allowing county commissioners to proceed under Ohio Revised Code Section 321.38 subject, of course, to a ruling of whether or not the removal process provided for in this statute passes constitutional muster.
All of Zeigler's legal maneuverings indicate a county treasurer who is in complete denial as to any responsibility he has for allowing conditions to exist at the treasurer's office that may have created opportunities for Frustaci to make off with county money.
He may or may not succeed in the legal arena. However, it is clear to the SCPR that in the public arena the public mind is that he does bear responsibility in the sense of Harry Truman-esque "the buck stops here."
The Report does not believe there is any question that Gary Zeigler is history as Stark County treasurer come December 31, 2012.
He may achieve a "phyric victory" in the legal sense; but in end, the Stark County people will have their way by removing Zeigler from office through the election process.
Like others, the SCPR believes he should resign.
But a Zeigler resignation is not going to happen.
Here is Judge Inderlied at yesterday's hearing.