Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Gary Zeigler a victim of Vince Frustaci who stole (by some accounts) $2.96 million in Stark County taxpayer money?

Well, his attorney (Matthew Nakon) is pushing that line.  And such is what one expects an attorney to do for his client.  In his motion in opposition (July 14, 2011) to deposed treasurer Zumbar's motion for the Ohio Supreme Court to reconsider its reinstatement of Zeigler as Stark County treasurer, Nakon makes this argument:

It is likely that darned few Stark County taxpayers think Zeigler is a victim.  Probably they are thinking "the gall of the guy, what chutzpah!"  

Accordingly, the SCPR thanks Attorney Matthew Nakon for giving The Report the idea of creating a Zeigler Chutzpah award to be handed out periodically by the The Report to those Stark County public officials who - from time-to-time - amply demonstrate arrogance in the face of what should be an opportunity to show humility.

And as for Nakon's assertion that predecessor Zumbar and Stark County (presumably talking about Stark County public officials) have been focused on making a "martyr of an innocent man;" really?

No! No! No! - Attorney Nakon.

It has been the Stark County taxpayers who have been victimized.  

Stark officials (including the prosecutor's office, interim treasurers Allbritain, Koher and Zumbar, and the county commissioners have been trying to make Stark Countians structurally and  financially whole again.

It was your client who appears to have ill advisedly hired Frustaci and put him on a fast track to becoming the #2 guy at treasury and not keeping a constant head over his shoulder in a "trust but verify" type relationship to ensure what did happen could never, ever happen.

No, Attorney Nakon.  Your client chose to completely trust a person (apparently, numbers of persons) to have control over millions of dollars of taxpayer money without having "independent" - in terms of job function - persons check in a "trust, but verify" fashion the work with taxpayer money being done in the Stark treasury.

Zeigler and his counsel Nakon et al need to read and re-read the State of Ohio Special Audit Report certified by the then Ohio Auditor Mary Taylor (June 25, 2010).

As Taylor said in a letter to Zeigler:
  • "We [the Ohio auditor's office] made nine management [the chief manager is whom? Treasurer Zeigler?] recommendations addressing internal control weaknesses noted in:
    • the reconciliation process,
    • vault cash collection process,
    • cash drawer overages/shortages,
    • tracking/recording unclaimed wires,
    • recording interest income earned and fees incurred, and 
    • segregating the cash collection and reconciliation processes."
In another but related strange turn of events, Zeigler (undoubtedly on the advice of counsel) sent Stark County Prosecutor John Ferrero and county commissioners a letter (July 13th - just one day before Nakon filed his "Zeigler is a victim included paragraph brief) asking that these county officials spend additional Stark County taxpayer money to pursue Taylor's former office (she is now lieutenant governor) for recovery of money ($2.96 million) lost on Zeigler's watch.

In the end, it is not Nakon and his fellows representing Zeigler.  They are doing what they were hired to do.  Make Gary D. Zeigler appear to be purer than the white driven snow.

For the SCPR and daresay for the overwhelming majority of Stark Countians - no matter what the courts may determine about the legalities of the situation - "the buck does stop with Gary D. Zeigler."

He likely will forever be remembered in the public perception in the annals of Stark County political and governance history as being the pre-eminent public official who would not own up to the responsibilities of holding office.

A man who in the face of extensive findings in the SAR that there were management deficiencies galore, had the effrontery to say he did nothing wrong and through his attorneys that, in fact, he was the victim.

For his bullheadedness, Stark County Treasurer Gary D. Zeigler is richly deserving of a SCPR Chutzpah Award and since he is the initial awardee to have the award named after himself.


Gary D. Zeigler - the first recipient ever of the SCPR's "Zeigler Chutzpah Award."

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