Thursday, July 14, 2011


Before yesterday's Stark County commissioners' meeting Commissioner Thomas Bernabei told yours truly that the meeting was likely to be relatively brief and "pedestrian-esque" (the SCPR's word; not Bernabei's).

As the The Report has learned many times over, one never knows what to expect at any public meeting (reference:  Phil Davison at the September 8, 2010 Stark GOP treasurer candidate selection conclave).

The SCPR has already shared a video (in the blog immediately before this one) with the Stark County public of a prominent Stark County builder appearing before commissioners asking for a routine-esque bond extension.  However, in the process he imparted dramatic information on the severity and depth of the drop off in new housing starts since 2004.

Also, local civic activist, pastor and former MRDD board member C. David Morgan appeared and gave and delivered a splendid oration on "why government, from top to bottom in this country, is experiencing a massive decline in public trust."  The Report will be publishing the Reverend's contribution within the next day or two.

But in this blog the SCPR returns to a familiar, depressing and local government trust-gutting matter:  "Zeiglergate" (as expression coined by local attorney and civic activist Craig T. Conley about a year or so ago).

Only a week ago, Stark County Personnel Manager Marsha Cimdevilla suggested that the reinstated Stark County Treasurer Gary D. Zeigler could be in sort of a limbo (legally able to do limited duties) because it could be months before he got a bond required by Ohio law.

Well, lo and behold, Ross Rhodes of the Stark County prosecutor's office (showed up).  His appearance seemingly always means an executive session and, perhaps, an announcement by commissioners of a significant development.

Indeed! for yesterday's meeting.

Immediately upon reconvening, the commissioners enacted a resolution releasing an "old" bond on Gary D. Zeigler which opened the way for Zeigler's almost immediate return to full duties as treasurer on the information from Rhodes that the issuance of a new bond (at about twice the cost to taxpayers) was imminent.

 There had been a difference of legal opinion as to whether or not this bond was still in effect given what the Ohio Supreme Court said (on June 23, 2011) was the unconstitutional (by virtue of Article II, Section 38 - due process - of the Ohio Constitution) dismissal of Zeigler as treasurer on August 23, 2010.

All doubts were removed yesterday on Rhodes' executive session advice as the commissioners passed the following resolution as the only business done at the conclusion of the executive session.


Before Ross Rhodes could get out the door, yours truly and other area media circled around Rhodes to bombard him with a bevy of questions about the bond.

Of course, the SCPR was not content to be limited to inquiring about the bond matter and explored:
  • the status of the civil case between the county and Zeigler seeking recovery of the better than $1 million still missing from the treasurer's office from Zeigler and Vince Frustaci.  
    • Frustaci admitted to stealing $2.46 million from the treasury, however, federal judge John Adams says he believes Frustaci took the entire missing amount.  (Zeigler was found by state and federal prosecutors to have not been involved in the theft)
  • the status of the motion to the Ohio Supreme Court to reconsider its decision in reinstating Zeigler to office.
  • whether or not the media and the Stark County taxpaying public will now get (in the light of being restored to full duty status) to ask Zeigler questions and get answers.
  • whether or not Rhodes or someone in the Stark County prosecutors offices is in communication with and cooperating with Canton Law Director Joseph Martuccio on his consideration of whether or not to prosecute Zeigler for dereliction of duty as demanded by Craig Conley.
Here is the video:

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