Mike DeWine has become a reluctant warrior — at best —during the four years he's served as Ohio Attorney General. His slow reaction to the potential destruction of data on city of Fremont computers is the latest case in point.
The computers — used by former Mayor Terry Overmyer and two other former city officials involved in the construction of the Fremont Reservoir — were allegedly "wiped clean" late last year after all three officials left their jobs. Overmyer was defeated in his November 2012 re-election bid.
The reservoir, a city project completed in 2013 for a total estimated cost of $45 million, ran about $36 million over-budget.
A favorable rate structure agreement to sell water to AMP Fremont Energy Center also resulted in lower fees for the utility that have the potential to siphon off up to another $100 million or more in public funds in the future.
The overrun costs of land acquisition, civil litigation, design and location mistakes, reduced water rates and capacity and a other problems will be costs borne by local taxpayers for at least two decades forward as a result.
Those funds can never be re-captured, or put to good use in the future, and taxpayers didn't get a fair deal in the deals that were made.
And they never got an explanation, an investigation or a finding, afterwards, in what has become a too-common practice by some Fremont city and Sandusky County officials being blind, deaf and dumb to accountability.
DeWine's response: Ask the Ohio Ethics Commission to review it. That's Hot Potato, especially given DeWine's been sitting on this information for about 18 months already, and his request to the Ethics Commission only occurred after an inquiry from the Register.
It shouldn't take this long to determine whether the alleged tampering with computers and the public record or the enormous taxpayer rip-off involved criminal acts.
DeWine needs to provide taxpayers answers to those questions and a full explanation of his intentions, and the intended results he seeks.