Ministers: Murman report lacks credibility

SANDUSKY They want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Whether this
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

SANDUSKY

They want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Whether this is something the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance will get from the city remains to be seen.

The Alliance released a statement Saturday regarding its inquiry into the city's investigation of Sandusky police Chief Kim Nuesse, who has been on paid administrative leave since an integrity probe was launched against her March 10.

"It appears as though the city manager has put the city in a bind," wrote the Rev. Tom Darden, political chairman of the Alliance, in the statement. "The city commissioners appear not to have directed or supervised the city manager. As a result of their lack of direction, the city manager conducted an investigation that is contrary to the interest of the city of Sandusky."

In Darden's opinion, the term "independent investigator" is not an appropriate way to describe Murman and Associates, the Lakewood-based law firm hired by the city to investigate Nuesse.

On May 5, the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance announced it intended to seek the recall of city commissioners Dennis Murray Jr. and Craig Stahl, along with Brian Crandall, who has since resigned.

The group called for the immediate reinstatement of Nuesse, who continues to fight for her job. It also asked for an outside probe into the motives and actions behind the city's investigation of Nuesse.

The city has made no contact with the Ohio Attorney General's office, despite the commission's unanimous vote May 12 to request that the Alliance work in conjunction with the attorney general's office to review the motives and procedures of the Nuesse investigation.

Alliance takes stand

The Alliance, however, did review the city's actions against Nuesse.

"We asked for a time up to June 23 to respond to the issues at hand," Darden wrote.

The Alliance was dismayed that Kline proceeded to set Nuesse's predisciplinary hearing for Monday, well ahead of the June 23 deadline.

Darden said he's concerned that the hearing will occur before the Alliance is able to speak with city commissioners about the group's findings.

While he acknowledged his findings were only preliminary and further investigation would be necessary before reaching a final conclusion, Darden found many aspects of the Murman report to be problematic.

Since not all Sandusky police officers were interviewed by investigators, it is impossible to know with certainty if "chaos" would ensue should Nuesse return, Darden said.

"However, the bigger problem would be if the inmates start running the asylum," he wrote.

If Nuesse is severely disciplined or fired, it is the opinion of Darden and the Alliance that the Ohio Attorney General's office should conduct its own investigation. The Alliance said it could also pursue a recall of the commissioners involved and seek the resignation of the city manager and law director.

Investigators become the investigated

The former F.B.I. special agents who conducted the interviews for the Murman report have worked together before, Darden noted in his report.

The Alliance referenced James Neff's "Mobbed up", published in 1989, and articles from the New York Times for some history on investigators Patrick J. Foran and Martin McCann Jr.

In a case relating to the Teamster's Union, federal prosecutors concluded that the statements of Foran ad McCann were not credible, Darden observed.

According to "Mobbed Up," McCann and Foran cannot give sworn testimony without being subject to perjury charges because they pleaded the Fifth Amendment, which protects them from self-incrimination.

"The city hired investigators who cannot testify, or if they do, there will be serious credibility problems," Darden wrote.

He went on to explain that more time is needed to investigate these assertions, since it's equally plausible that "Mobbed Up" or the New York Times published incorrect or incomplete information.

"This is just one aspect of the investigation that needs to be investigated," Darden wrote.