He's claimed he had almost no role in the prosecution of former Ottawa County Sheriff Bob Bratton, or made any decision about it.
But Ottawa County Prosecutor Mark Mulligan appears to have opted out — declining to prosecute Bratton — prompting the Ohio Auditor to ask the U.S. Attorney to prosecute Bratton on theft charges.
Bratton was indicted January and later pleaded guilty. He was sentenced last month in U.S. District Court to one year's probation on federal theft charges for taking about $9,000 from the county's Furtherance of Justice Fund, a public account.
Federal prosecutors and the state auditor's office both have refused to provide comment or respond to questions since the indictment on the decision to federally prosecute Bratton, or whether there are other ongoing federal investigations related or similar to the Bratton case.
Mulligan told the Register he was only "tangentially" involved in the decision to prosecute Bratton, but the auditor's office appears to have asked Mulligan directly to consider filing local charges, according to a series of emails sent among auditor's office employees.
"We're done but the county prosecutor hasn't made his decision not to prosecute yet," wrote Curt Muehling, a special investigator with the auditor's office, in an email exchange Feb. 23, 2012, with another auditor's office employee.
Muehling, a former Sandusky police detective, was responding to a request to close the file on the investigation of Bratton and the FOJ fund.
Three weeks later — in March 2012 — the special audit was made public. It determined $9,000 was stolen, and that a total of $29,000 in expenditures was not properly documented while Bratton managed the account as sheriff from 2008 to 2011.
Mulligan, who has come under fire from some critics for allegedly showing a cronyism with other elected officials and being non-responsive to members of the general public, declared he had the "utmost respect" for Bratton after Bratton was indicted.
He's also taken heat from some victims and their families for arranging plea deals in at least two felony violence cases without consulting the victims.
Mulligan also dragged his feet last year after the Danbury police filed a report of an elderly financial abuse case in which a woman was allegedly bilked out of more than $200,000. The Ohio Attorney General's office is currently reviewing that investigation.
The prosecutor also has been questioned about his decision to pursue felony charges against a man who was on state Rep. Chris Redfern's property in Catawba, which was being marketed for sale at that time. The man's attorney contends Mulligan overcharged and fast-tracked the case as a favor to Redfern.