Monday, July 26, 2010


In a bid  to survive in office, Stark County Treasurer Gary D. Zeigler (Treasury) on Wednesday, July 14,  had his attorney (Dennis Thompson - of the Akron area) prepare and distribute a "Statement relating to Gary D. Zeigler."

The SCPR believes that Thompson's statement in no way absolves Zeigler from what The Report believes to have been a major Zeigler failure to protect the public treasury from the likes of Vince Frustaci who on June 25th pled guilty in federal court to have stolen $2.46 million while serving as Zeigler's chief deputy.

The Report views Thompson's statement as a public relations gambit designed to divert attention away from his client and onto other county and state officials.

The SCPR is unimpressed with Thompson's statement and continues to believe that Zeigler should resign as Stark County treasurer.

Having established such as the SCPR position, The Report now moves into a consideration of the Thompson focus (among others) on Stark County Auditor Kim Perez.

A Thompson statement:


So what is Perez's obligation in protecting the integrity of treasury funds in the light of suspecting there was a problem? 

Interesting enough, on September 9, 2009 (note after April 1, 2009, the date that Zeigler fired Frustaci)  Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray (OAG) wrote an Ohio attorney general opinion (OAG2009-033), which the SCPR believes puts Perez in a bad light in terms of his contending that bringing the matter of two imbalances between Stark County treasury and the auditor, to the attention of the State of Ohio Auditor ("SOA," - November, 2008 & March, 2009) absolved him of any obligation to pursue the matter further.

Even though, by his own words, Perez speaks of "a lack of cooperation from the Treasurer's office," he thinks reporting the "lack of cooperation" to the Ohio Auditor solves an obvious "no-confidence" in the information problem between his office and the Stark treasury?

The SCPR has written before that Perez, once he suspected problems at the Treasury, when available, should have - at a minimum - insisted on "original source bank statements."

Reportedly, Perez is saying that Stark County Prosecutor Ross Rhodes directs that Perez "MUST" (emphasis added) rely on the bank statements provided by Frustaci. However, Rhodes' letter of July 13th (attached to the Stark County Auditor Report to the Stark County Commissioners on the Investigation of the Stark County Treasurer's Office) does not contain such a statement. 

Is it good enough for public official Perez, with the connection (functionally) that he has with the Stark treasury, to "punt" a suspected problem to the Auditor of State and thereby (in his mind) wash his hands of the matter?

To the SCPR, OAG2009-033 in and of itself together with its cited statutes and cases seem to indicate Perez (as do all Ohio county auditors) has that responsibility and the authority (which Perez claims he does not have) to follow up his misgivings about the goings-on in Zeigler's office with an insistence of original source bank statements.

Here is a summary of the law as articulated in OAG 2009-033)

Even in light of the law cited about, the SCPR does not think that Perez could have just waltzed over to First Merit Bank and gotten original source documents; although Vince Frustaci did not seem to have any difficulty getting $220,000 in cash.

But with a little creativeness, the SCPR has to believe that Perez did not have to accept the Frustaci- provided documents on blind faith and could have and, in the view of the SCPR, should have insisted that the county prosecutor look for legal procedural ways and means for him to "'require factual proof'" (i.e. the bank statements) were authentic.

The Stark County Political Report believes that Auditor Perez failed county taxpayers in not taking a more rigorous approach to resolving the misgivings he certainly must have had with respect to the Frustaci-provided information in light of the November, 2008 incongruity of numbers.

Another thing.  Perez's "hypothetical example" given in his report to commissioners is insulting to anyone who has basic analytical ability, to wit:

If yours truly got a bank statement that did not jive with checkbook balancing, a trip would be made to the bank with the question:  "Why doesn't my checkbook balance with your statement I received in the mail.  I have checked and rechecked my account and I am absolutely sure it is correct."

I would insist that the bank take a look at its numbers on its computers.

Eureka!  On checking against its computer records, an incongruity would be obvious.  "Hmm?" the bank would say.  "How can this be?"

The rest of the story?

A neighbor who worked at the bank had been forging checks against my account and, to cover his tracks, had intercepted my monthly bank statement from my mailbox and recreated the statement to cover for the withdrawals made by him and reinserted the fraudulent statement in my mailbox.

So my going to the original source was the key to finding the criminal activity on my account.

Does whomever created the non-analogous hypothetical actually work in the Stark County Auditor's office?

If so, isn't that worrisome in and of itself?

The bottom line?

Does The Report's take on Perez's failure to obtain original source documents from the Stark treasury's banker mean that the SCPR is advocating that Auditor Perez resign?


Why not?

He only has about three months left on his current term.  It would be too disruptive of county operations for him to do so at this late date.

However, it does mean that The Report believes that Stark Countians should take a serious look at removing him from office via the election process in November, 2010!

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