Spinning off into the wasteland

What a waste. The seemingly never-ending saga of Elsebeth Baumgartner has possibly come to an end. After years of furor, lega
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

What a waste.

The seemingly never-ending saga of Elsebeth Baumgartner has possibly come to an end. After years of furor, legal wrangling and bizarre allegations, the former Oak Harbor attorney has been sentenced to eight years in prison, for 11 counts of intimidation and four counts of retaliation, all felonies.

What ostensibly started with words between Elsebeth's daughter and Oak Harbor's athletic director Gary Quisno in a weight room nearly a decade ago, grew into a mean-spirited, convoluted war of lawsuits and accusations against a number of public officials from Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter to Ottawa County Prosecutor Mark Mulligan to Judge Richard Markus, with the actions toward him and a former Web site colleague finally landing her the sentence.

We don't want to recap the entire sordid take of Baumgartner here. Space is really not available to do it justice, nor do we want to wallow in the steamy details of her conspiracy theories. We all remember the tales of sex slaves and drug smuggling.

We just want to point out what a complete waste of time this has been on several fronts. Baumgartner graduated first in her law school class. She also holds a degree in pharmacy. She is a very intelligent, possibly brilliant, woman. She could have done so much more than this. She had a successful career prior to her leap into litigation land. She could have done so much. All of that intellect and ability leads her to a jail cell? What a waste. Heck, all of the creativity in making those allegations probably could have been channeled into a book or two.

Some will say all of her efforts were not wasted. That she succeeded in raising awareness about "real" problems. They say Baumgartner is a political prisoner.

That is hogwash. She wasted her talents and in the process wasted the time of the Ohio legal system. Numerous attorneys, police officers and other staffers spent their time chasing a woman who liked to sue and intimidate to get her point across.

So much time and energy has been wasted on both sides of the Baumgartner saga.

That is what is most criminal about this entire ordeal: What else could have been done with everyone's resources.