School board wrestles ghost of Fred Fox

Caporini suggests board keep 'eyes open' for potential settlement in legal battles over termination.
Alissa Widman Neese
May 24, 2013

About a month into the Huron Schools legal battle, at least one board member believes a cost-effective compromise could be the best solution.

In an unexpected move Tuesday, board member John Caporini made a motion suggesting the district "seek a global settlement regarding the Fred Fox situation." The item, which board member Kevin Asher seconded, was not listed on the agenda. It was discussed as "other business" at the end of the meeting.

The financial integrity of Huron Schools sparked the motion, Caporini said Thursday.

"We need to move on and try to settle this," he said. "We don't need to go in with blinders on for a fight to the death, because the district will be the one to suffer. We need to keep our mind and eyes open."

Huron Schools is facing the aftermath of firing former superintendent Fred Fox in April. The decision came after more than a year of heated meetings and court proceedings costing the district more than $140,000. Caporini and Asher voted against Fox's firing.

Fox appealed the termination and is suing the three board members who voted to fire him: Donna Green, Tim Sowecke and Scott Slocum. He's seeking more than $175,000, in addition to back pay. Green alleged defamation and promptly filed a counterclaim, suing Fox for more than $25,000.

Caporini ultimately withdrew Tuesday's motion, however, after a lengthy discussion with board members. Just starting a conversation was enough progress for him, he said.

Slocum, the board's president, said Caporini should have first contacted the district's attorneys, and possibly Fox's attorney, before making the motion. Slocum and Sowecke said settlements could already be part of legal discussion. Slocum also said discussions of pending legal matters may be more appropriate for a closed-door meeting.

"I don't know if we're ready to use the word 'settlement' right now," Slocum said. "But we're open to all possibilities to try to move the district forward. I think we're on the same page with that."

As the district's finances continue to spiral downward, Caporini said a resolution can't come soon enough.

Treasurer Mike Weis presented an updated five-year financial forecast Tuesday to board members, projecting Huron Schools is set to spend all its reserve cash by 2015. The district is forecasting a deficit each year, ranging from $1.3 million in the current school year to $5.1 million in the 2016-17 school year. Its budget is about $15 million.

Several variables, including state funding changes, could alter the forecast, Weis said. Regardless, the district must place a new emergency operating levy on the budget within three years, possibly as early as November 2015.

"If we're going to ask taxpayers for help and they see all this turmoil, what do you think their response is going to be?" Caporini said. "I'm not naive. I know it will take time, but we have to at least make an effort to get this thing resolved for the taxpayers of Huron."

In the meantime, the board is in the process of certifying a five-year, 5.9-mill renewal operating levy for the November ballot. The levy generates about $900,000 a year for the district, costing the owner of a $100,000 home about $111, according to the Erie County auditor. If approved, it would not increase taxes from the total amount currently paid, which is about $1,520 each year.

Board president Scott Slocum did not return a phone message Thursday seeking comment.

 

Comments

Retiree

Five points
1) State referee is friends with defense attorney. Referee's decision means nothing. If referee decided Fox was guilty, Fox would be saying "referee's decision means nothing". Fox was afraid of arbitration because arbitrators decision is final.
2) Why would you continue to keep a superintendent and pay his salary when you are aware of him having an affair on taxpayers money and corruption? That is theft. Some people might condone it but most people have different morals.
3)Most people are very credible in Huron. I said most. There are some people that would tell you "the moon is made of cheese". You have to be the judge by finding out the truth. Some Huron School Board members have monetary agenda's. Time will tell.
4)I don't condone impropriety. He who has never sin, cast the first stone.
5) Investigation into corruption of a superintendent and misuse of taxpayers dollars-$50,000. Asher's injunction-$90,000. Fox's suing of board members-?. How many students and teachers will be effected by Fox's lawsuit-?.
No settlement for lying and committing a crime against honest taxpayers.

Tsu Dho Nimh

Amen!

Swiftshot

If we fired everyone that had an affair on someone else's dime, not too many would be on pay roll. Look at the most important job in the United States, presedents! How many of those had gotten fired. I'm not saying it is right but you should look at society as a whole. My opinion he was doing a fantastic job.

Tsu Dho Nimh

Most districts are cutting jobs. Why? Because the state dollars have been cut. Had Fox been an outstanding superintendent and if we did not have an investigation, we would still have to make cuts. The difference would be that he would have kept his buddy, which the necessity of his position for a district our size has been questioned previously by the state. Our current board saved a teaching position by eliminating a position that can be handled from the board office.

Retiree

I do look at society as a whole. There are people in our society that are very honest and trusting individuals. Then you have the people that are corrupt and dishonest. They would steal the quarters off a dead mans eyes. Society is becoming more and more corrupt every day. Look at the Erie County Police report. People go on vacation to have a good time and end up having their rooms broke into, wallets stolen, children assaulted, etc. It is a different story when you vote people into an office and they hire a person that steals taxpayers money, threatens people, intimidate individuals, lies and creates a hostile work environment. If you feel that person is doing a fantastic job, then hire Bernie Madoff as the next superintendent.

Julie R.

"Corrupt, dishonest, stole taxpayer money, theft of tools, theft of a school bus, threatens people, intimidates individuals, lies, perjury under oath, creates a hostile work environment ............"

Geez, oh pete. I don't think Fox is a saint by no means but some of you people are making him out to be some kind of criminal or something.

Tsu Dho Nimh

Well, if the shoe fits ...

Huron_1969

Julie.... you usually rant on and on how Huron stole from you, then you spin 180 degrees and stick up for someone who has cheated the community. Guess you want your cake and eat it too

Julie R.

When have I ever said "Huron" stole from me? The criminal actions of a few dirt-bags certainly doesn't make up the entire city. And besides, I don't think you'll find too many in Huron ~ or anywhere for that matter ~ as nuts as that group was.

Take for example what they did to 3 life insurance policies of an elderly incompetent person two months before her death --- cash surrendered in the policies on a forged power of attorney with bogus Erie County Recorder numbers faxed down the side of it. The policies had a face value of $100K --- they cash surrendered them in for $12,033.00. Even the first attorney I had from Sandusky ~ the one that bilked me out of money only to tell me two months later "if you think I'm getting my attorney brothers in trouble for this, Lady, you're crazy" ~ even that snake couldn't hide his disgust when he saw what they did to life insurance policies.

And Retiree keeps complaining about a rusted old school bus that Fox sold for $1?

Truth or Fiction

I don't believe the OEC is going to do anything. That file is under a desk leg somewhere in Columbus. You miss the point and your contnued angst leads one to believe you were hurt by the former superintendent. The point is that the whole issue could have been handled at no cost to the school district.

got.integrity

I am sure fox and those in his camp are praying the OEC does not follow up on his spending, but it is not so.
The fact that you think this issue could have been handled without costing the district money shows you do not have experience or knowledge regarding how public entities have to conduct business. Even if the board had chosen to non renew his contract it would still require the advise and monitoring of legal counsel-which costs money. They would have had to pay a significant severance-which costs money.
It, again, comes down to how we would rather spend our money and as a member of this community I would rather fight him then GIVE him anymore money.

Informed

Got.integrity, I think most people in Huron would agree with you!

Huron_1969

So very true...

Julie R.

I heard a rumor that a long-time Huron school employee (not a teacher) got fired for theft, stealing money taken in from sporting events. If it's true, why is Huron keeping it a secret? After all, wouldn't that be considered cheating the community like everybody is saying Fox did?

Tsu Dho Nimh

Heard the same rumor, too. Assuming it is true, why bring it public? The ENTIRE board addressed it (not just three), the employee didn't fight it (unlike Fox), and what this employee is accused of is just a drop in the bucket compared to Fox and he/she doesn't have the authority and power of Fox. As far as Retiree and the $1 bus sale, he is pointing out how Fred covered for his good buddy who was in charge of the sale to one of his family members. The good news is that beginning July 1, he won't be able to sell anymore buses or "borrow" tools.

Julie R.

Fred covered for his good buddy who was in charge of the sale to one of his family members? I'll admit that wasn't right. But then neither was it right when the jokes at the Erie County courthouse covered for their good buddy attorneys and crooks from 2 financial institutions that assisted in crimes against an elderly person at the end of her life. Just goes to show how nobody has any ethics and morals anymore. Fox isn't one bit different than the clowns that are getting paid to represent the law.

Darkhorse

Don't pay the guy off. In the long run, the school board did the right thing. It was an expensive lesson but it had to be done. Fox needs to move on and start sending out the resumes. Too bad the public will never know how the ethics board ruled on this case.

Truth and Justice

Since I am not a regular blogger and do not understand the protocol, I figured I better ask before I act. If you as a blogger specifically know the real name of certain bloggers and some ugly history of their past, is it appropriate to expose this. There are a few on here that really should be revealed. I’m asking and will respect the wishes of the majority. Remember those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Tsu Dho Nimh

If you use names and make "ugly" comments, I'm sure someone will dispute your comments and the Register will hide it. My advice to you: unless the person has told you personally his/her blog name, then it is just a guess. Sold on Fox has tried to attach 3 or 4 names to me and has been wrong everytime. In the mean time, a few people have had their names put out in this forum that didn't ask for it to be. I would suggest you be careful. Someone might decide they know who you are and make comments, too. Just some friendly advice : )

whazup

What's would be the point of exposing a blogger? Does their identity make what Freddy did ok? How does their ugly history fit into the scheme of things other than to get even? Are you willing to reveal who you are if you share your info? Have to admit that you do have me curious about what you know.

Truth and Justice

It's about credibility of the blogger. See TDN DOES know that Sold did expose her. She went and hid for about 2 weeks. In fact, it was so intriguing to me that I saved the string of posts. Also TDN - why are you allowed to use names -- many different names?

Tsu Dho Nimh

I use the names of current and former board members, the treasurer, and the superintendent. You know, the people who are involved in this mess.

Tsu Dho Nimh

Truth...What are you talking about? Are you saying that I am not credible? Truly, I am not that interesting.

UgtaBkdnMe

Hey, I haven't been part of the discussion for while. Does that mean I was in hiding?

Huron_1969

Sure does..... detention and summer school for you lol

TaxRaider

I guess I will get off the bus and come out of hiding.

whazup

It's nice that y'all could join us!

Julie R.

Some of these Huronites on here sure do seem outraged over Fred Fox using his power as superintendent to do favors for some of his good buddies, but personally, I can't see what the big deal is. After all, it's not like everybody doesn't do it.

What about the attorneys that prepared new fraud power of attorneys and new fraud wills when an elderly client was totally incompetent ten months before her death as a favor for their good buddy Huron friends? What about the Huronite Erie County auditor that authorized a fraudulent transfer of property on a forged power of attorney hidden in another county? What about the Huron insurance agent and the Huron bank that made all those internal fraudulent changes to an incompetent person's contracts, even cash surrendering in all of her life insurance policies two months before her death on a forged power of attorney. Dirt-bags sure didn't commit all those criminal acts for the benefit of the elderly person.

What about the court that allowed their good buddy Huron attorney friends to file a forged will two years after a client's death along with a piece of paper that said "there are no more assets left in the decedent's name" without giving an account of what the assets were, where they came from and where they went. What about the other joke court that forced property with serious defects in the title to be sold at a scam sheriff sale so their good buddy Lorain County attorney friends wouldn't have to put the property back into the correct probate estate?

Some of you Huronites on here that are so outraged over favors that Fox did for his friends sure do have short memories. Aren't you glad that I don't?

underthebridge

Is it confirmed that the referee is a friend of Fox's attorney Murray or is this just conjecture? If so, what is the relationship?

Wald

No, it is not confirmed that the state referee and Murray are friends. That's just more blatant lies and rumors from Retiree. Ask him to provide proof and he never does.

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