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Lampela: Officer can fix problems with department

Alex Green • Jul 24, 2014 at 5:30 PM


Put-in-Bay police Chief Ric Lampela encouraged Put-in-Bay village council to promote officer Steven Korossy to a full-time lieutenant position Wednesday night during a special meeting.

Korossy and Lampela both acknowledged an existing "problem" in the police department, and they think Korossy is the solution.

"I (recommend) you hire him as a lieutenant for $50,000 a year," Lampela said. "To fix things that appear to be wrong with the police department."

Korossy would fill a vacant position, Lampela said.

After Lampela encouraged the council to make the promotion, Put-in-Bay Resort owner Mark Mathys spoke in opposition.

Korossy was the arresting officer in the allegedly unjust arrests of three working resort employees last September. 

One employee's charges have been dropped and the other two are still in court.

"I would strongly encourage council not to take action until there's an investigation," Mathys said.

He contended Wednesday police and the mayor have failed to take any corrective action in the 10 months since the arrests.

"You conducted no investigation," Mathys told Mayor Margaret Scarpelli.

Officers arrested the resort's general manager and charged her with obstruction when she did not immediately supply police with golf cart vendor contracts. Police were investigating an illegally parked golf cart.

The next day, Korossy arrested two employees at the hotel's front desk for not sharing information with police about a recently terminated employee. Police demanded a final paycheck for the terminated employee the same day.

Korossy said he was given orders by Ottawa County Prosecutor Mark Mulligan during the arrest of the hotel's general manager the prior day.

Mathys said Korossy's statement is inconsistent with what Mulligan told an attorney who represents the resort.

"(Mulligan said) in writing he didn't give the orders," Mathys said. "I don't care who's lying but someone is."

Mulligan has declined to comment, other than saying he is unfamiliar with the case and his assistant prosecutor is in charge of the matter.

Korossy gave about a five-minute pitch as to why he should be promoted. He mentioned seeking advice from the prosecutor.

"I don't jump and make a decision if I don't know the answer," Korossy said. "I go to the prosecutor or someone else."

Korossy mentioned the word "problem" multiple times, referring to the department, but did not elaborate on what those problems are.

"I stepped it up this year," Korossy said. "I will fix these minor issues."

Korossy has spent 11 years with the Put-in-Bay police department. Both Lampela and Korossy said experience levels have contributed to the "problems."

"There's a lack of veteran officers who have talent to teach officers," Korossy said. "Wages are why they don't come back (to the department). Many say they'd love to come back but can't afford to."

Lampela and Scarpelli did not answer questions from the Register again Wednesday.

"It's not a press conference," they each said when asked about allegations concerning Korossy.

The mayor didn't seem to grasp the topic.

"I'm not clear what you're referring to," Scarpelli responded.

Strange Island arrests: Watch the surveillance video

The hotel provided Scarpelli the video surveillance of the arrests at the resort months ago. 

Scarpelli also did not respond to Mathys after his lengthy comments at the council meeting.

Hotel management has complained Lampela has targeted the hotel, its staff and other businesses and island residents for harrassment at Lampela's direction. The retaliation stems from a disagreement between the hotel and Lampela years ago about the village's noice ordinance, hotel officials said.  

The surveillance video equipment was installed at the hotel to protect it from the police harrassment, a hotel official told the Register previously. 

Council members, the mayor, Lampela and Korossy all have refused to provide any comment or response to the complaints. 

The village's part-time law director, George Wilber, along with Mulligan and his assistant prosecutor handling the court cases, all also have refused to respond or provide any explanation for the arrests, which appear to be related to a civil matter rather than any criminal violations.  

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