Tuesday, July 13, 2010


REVISED & REPUBLISHED 07/13/2010 AT 10:22 AM


For Stark County Treasurer Gary D. Zeigler, today (July 12, 2010) probably ranks up there with the last few days in March, 2009; April 1, 2009 (when Zeigler says he first learned of the Frustaci theft) and June 25, 2010 (when the U.S. attorney filed the federal government Bill of Information against Vince Frustaci (the former Chief Deputy in Zeigler's office.

How so?

First, his long time (obviously now. former) confidant and friend Attorney Lem Green (staff attorney for the Stark County treasury) resigned today.

Second, Bethlehem Township resident Tom Marcelli through his attorney Craig T. Conley has filed an "amended" verified complaint with the Stark County Court of Common Pleas against Treasurer Zeigler setting for allegations that Zeigler has transacted on three properties owned or partially owned by Zeigler which, according to Conley's allegations, are in fraud of Conley's expectation that he - if allowed to proceed on the case - will obtain a judgment (hence the caption nomination:  creditors fraud) against Zeigler for Marcelli (standing in for the Stark County taxpayers).

Here is a copy of a key paragraph is the amended verified complaint:

Here is an excerpt from the Alliance Review's Laurie Huffman who did an interview with Zeigler last night in response to the Marcelli/Conley allegations on real property transfers:

 Those who want Zeigler to resign have to have a grudging admiration for Zeigler's spunk.  Who in Stark County could remain in office under the pressure Zeigler is being subjected to?  Nonetheless the SCPR stands by a previously issued calls for Zeigler to resign.

However, as Green is saying, Zeigler's fastidiousness may be more than just a personal stress factor.  It could be spilling over into Stark County government, in general.

And, of course, there is the political aspect.  Democratic countywide officeholders (all of them) have to be literally shaking in their boots about how what Attorney Conley is calling "Zeiglergate" will be affecting their continuance in office.

The most nervous has to be Stark County Auditor Kim Perez,  In the past he has proven to the most productive Democratic candidate vote getter in Stark County.  But will that save him this year?

 Perhaps not.

His opponent, Republican Alan Harold, is about as politically "greenhornish" as one gets for running countywide.  However, being politically innocent could bode well for him come November.

In terms of office function, Perez as auditor is the closest to Zeigler's treasury position.  And with Stark Countians looking at the qualifications for office, (e.g. Who's qualified, who isn't for countywide elected positions, Gayle Beck, Repository editorial board, July 12, 2010), Harold professional qualifications - MBA from The Ohio State University with an undergraduate degree in accounting -  (if not his political experience) puts him in an ideal place to defeat Perez.

If the Zeigler drama keeps going, the race might not even be close.  And the "winning going away" under these circumstances is not likely to be Perez.

Back to Zeigler's future.

The SCPR believes that even if he can weather the current storm he will not be able to survive a Democratic primary (which is surely to come) if he runs again.

The Report thinks that it is unlikely Zeigler is entertaining long term thoughts these days.  Rather, it is probable he is just trying to get from day to day.

With Green's exit and the Stark County executive committee having called for his resignation, it hard to believe that Zeigler can hang in there much longer.  Now, with the amended lawsuit by Marcelli, he is further besieged.  Undoubtedly, Marcelli's attorney is not just looking for real estate transactions to try to undo.  Conley, in the process of trying the case will be certainly looking for other assets to levy against if he is successful in getting a judgment for the money missing from the Stark treasury and not satisfied from other sources.

Who would of thunk that Stark Republicans could go from holding no countywide offices (non-judicial) to holding them all.


How about the coroner's office and engineering office?

Good point.

But if Stark County Republican Chairman Jeff Matthews can "strike while the iron is hot" (which the SCPR is skeptical that he can), then it could be a clean sweep by election night in November, 2012.

Finding a "qualified" Republican to run for "all" these offices could be problematical.  However, Democrat Coroner Murthy did have a challenge from a qualified Republican in 2008.  Could these new circumstances. though unrelated to the coroner's office, prompt a rematch?

A prospect of a Republican clean sweep by November, 2012 has to be, one would think, a reason of a number why Green (being the stanch Democrat he is) made his move today.  And, it most certainly, has to be a prime reason for the Stark County executive committee's recent action in "demanding" that Zeigler resign.

Stark's organized Democrats have to feel like they are the political equivalent of BP.  They have a huge leak on their hands and are seemingly powerless to stop it.

In a bizarre twist of unfolding events, wouldn't the organized and officeholding Democrats be eternally grateful to Zeigler if he were to resign and to resign today?

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