City commissioner Dave Waddington grilled city finance director Ed Widman during a city commission meeting Dec. 14, but neither man seemed happy with the exchange after it ended.
Waddington wanted to know more about Marina District developer John Eymann's $100,000 good-faith deposit that was supposed to be cashed by the city when the Marina District developer's agreement was signed in December 2008.
The city didn't deposit the check until May, however, four months after then-city manager Matt Kline told city commissioners the check was "in escrow at Citizen's Bank."
Although Widman couldn't recall many specifics, he said no one told him to not cash the check.
"I think one of the core issues with the check was: Did someone ask me to sit on it, not cash it (or) hold it up," Widman said. "I would say no. No one told me to do that."
The check was dated Jan. 14, 2009, but he didn't know when the city actually received it, Widman said. City e-mails show the city didn't receive the check until at least late January, and Widman acknowledged that shouldn't have happened.
The agreement with Eymann also required the payment be made with a certified check but that didn't happen, either, Widman said. Widman told Waddington he might have not noticed that detail because he's not sure he inspected the check.
"There was a note attached to (the check), and I don't even know if I removed the note to look at it," Widman said.
Widman said because of the budget issues facing the city, he probably "lost track" of the check. At some point, he said, likely in early May, he remembered the check and realized it might expire.
He contacted then-city economic development specialist Scott Schell, who contacted Eymann. Eymann asked the city to hold the check for another day until Eymann came to Sandusky.
"That's the only time I was instructed or asked to hold it," Widman said.
Widman said he deposited the check shortly thereafter. The Marina District agreement expires at the end of the year, and the city has thus far balked at returning the funds to Eymann.
Waddington expressed concern after the exchange with Widman.
"So a $100,000 check you just put in a safe and forgot about it?" Waddington asked.
Widman wasn't very happy with his own explanation.
"I've had some folks say you need to get your stories straight," Widman said. "It's a crappy story, but it's my story and it's the only one I know."