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

underthebridge

How about they wait until the Ethics Commission makes their decision.

Mr Kilbourne

Get rid of this board altogether, they clearly have strong personal agendas and not the District's best interest. They remind us of wall street bankers / congress - pillage, spend, and leave a path of debt and destruction for us all to deal with.

Darwin's choice

Agree!!

Justme...

The "path of debt and destruction" you speak of has been greatly exaggerated by those who care more about Fox than they do the district. The way I see it, with the cut they were able to make earlier this week, the "fiasco" has paid for itself.

Mr Kilbourne

I don't care about Fred Fox, or the board. My only interest lies with the school district and the quality of education for the students. Don't politicize my comment or infer I am taking sides. They've spent $150,000 so far, and possibly another $175,000. So if I misused the statement "a path of debt and destruction" to describe WASTING $300,000 in tax dollars, excuse me.

Justme...

The last I heard, it was $140, not $150. Its a shame it had to be even 1 dollar. But at this point there is no debt or destruction because of this. That was my point - exaggerating serves no purpose except to make the situation seem worse than it is. And who does that serve?

Swiftshot

Huron system was the place to send your kids. All it took was a couple of people to rock the boat to sink the ship. Good job I say sarcastically

RUKidding

I couldn't agree more with this statement. I always heard how amazing this school system was. I surely haven't seen it though.

J Cooper

Lesson learned, "do" your girlfriend on the taxpayer's dime and receive a pay off for your trouble. Got to love our legal system.

Julie R.

Not funny ........... but I laughed, anyway.

Informed

The school system is better with Fox gone.

NotYourAverageF...

When our children where both going into 1st grade. We had the choice of either the Berlin Milan dist or Huron dist. Based on family history dealing with Fred Fox & the way he treats district employees including teachers, we chose Berlin Milan 100% based on those dealings with Fred Fox.

Truth or Fiction

Mr. Kilbourne’s personal opinion frames the entire controversy. A majority of the Board took action that put the district in jeopardy. It is obvious that the Board had the votes not to renew Mr. Fox’s contract so why put the district in jeopardy? This is a prime example of poor planning and poor management. The end result is that the students pay for the incompetence of others.

got.integrity

Truth,
If you ran a business and had knowledge that an employee was acting in a manner that was putting your company at risk and spending money improperly would you keep them around until the contract ended? I doubt it! As a tax payer the last thing I want to hear is that the BOE let him continue to hook up with his honey at conferences spending tax payer dollars on the hotel, mileage, meals and registration fees. Either way the man was costing us money. I would rather it be fighting him in court rather than paying for his rock star lifestyle.
The majority of the board was looking out for the district's finances unlike Fred, the 2 other board members and the treasurer that approved the spending!! One gone...3 to go.

Tsu Dho Nimh

Here is the problem with waiting to non-renew Mr. Fox: Asher, Bulea, and Caporini let Fox do whatever he wanted. Green and Slocum were out numbered. There will be three seats open on the board this November and we don't know what the 2015 board will look like. It is pretty certain that Asher and Caporini would never vote to non-renew him. Let someone like Bulea back on the board, it would be a free-for-all, again!

Swiftshot

Truth b told, the kids are the ones that are going to suffer in the end.

srblogger

kids are always the ones that suffer from the adult world. kids 20 years from now will suffer more then kids do today.

i will support the renewal, because that was coming regardless. a new addition monies, we will wait and see.

donutshopguy

Someone please explain how the kids will suffer? Will there be less teachers due to this situation? Will the teachers, teach less?

If you are involved in your child's education they won't even notice this blip on the radar screen.

And, by the way, what is a "global" settlement? Has this effected the overall balance of the world?

Tsu Dho Nimh

In my opinion, Caporini wants to settle with Fox so his good buddy can walk away with something. The OEC has been spending a lot of time on the investigation and will be back again for another round. If Fox was innocent, he would have been cleared by now. Caporini and Asher know that Fox will be toast when the OEC is done and won't have a leg to stand on if his lawsuit hits the court room.

Swiftshot

It takes money to run the school system. Kalahari was the number 1 contributor, legal fees, pay off settlement. I don't know hmm. Wow, it's not real hard to figure out.

donutshopguy

Swift,

Kalahari is obligated to pay their taxes no matter the decision on Fred Fox. Do you really believe a few hundred thousand of dollars will sink the system? That's naive.

Informed

You cannot just not renew his contract without cause. Given the cause would be the same things they have terminated him for at present, my feeling is Fox would have sued even then. The man is a power-hungry egomaniac.

Tsu Dho Nimh

Todd Nelson isn't the generous contributor that some people want to make him out to be. Kalahari has saved a lot in taxes and the school district receives money because of that. Kalahari also benefitted from Kalahari Field. It is a business and it was a good business deal for them.

Swiftshot

It's a domino affect. I suppose when the parents of the kids have to pay for sports and less technology is able to be purchased you will look back on this conversation.

Retiree

No settlement for Fox. Why would you give him money for committing a crime,stealing taxpayers money. That is admitting you were wrong. His posse wants a settlement now because the bills are starting to pile up with no money to pay them. All the lies that his group spread on these blogs and around Huron. The slanderous remarks against the three board members,selling a school bus for a dollar,stealing of tools, perjury under oath and all the other crimes Fox and his posse committed. As a taxpayer of Huron, I want these questions answered in a court. No way would I settle with Fox and his "bottom feeder". The problem is in this corrupt world, the attorneys will find a way where they will benefit the most. At taxpayers expense.

got.integrity

I couldn't agree more! We've gone this far, let's keep moving ahead and get the truth out publically to replace the BS Fred's high school buddies have been spreading around.

got.integrity

sorry duplicate entry - I double saved...

Truth or Fiction

Five points:
1)State found no wrongdoing.
2)A superintendent does not have tenure and could be let go by a non-renewal of contract. Ohio is still an “Employment at Will” state. Sorry Got.integrity - your post was FICTION.
3)I don’t live in your district but people who do have informed me that this is a feud (pay-back) involving football, families, teachers, staff and as Doc Holiday stated in Tombstone – “Oh no, it’s a reckoning!”
4)I don’t condone impropriety but doesn’t Huron have other employees that you wouldn’t want left alone with your significant other.
5)Students will be affected as teachers will be let go to cut cost (a direct result of the 140+K) which increases class size and reduces subjects taught.

got.integrity

Really truth? My statements are fiction-Says who your "informed people." Just wait because as Tso said the Ethics Commission is still working hard on Fred's version of the truth. The OEC would not waste their time dealing with a reckoning!" Where there is smoke there is fire!

donutshopguy

If I understand correctly Mr. Fox's drinking and philandering buddy has had his job cut from the school system. With the savings on salary , benefits and the reductions of lawsuits against Mr. Fox's minion the school system should about break even of this fiasco in a couple years.

With Mr. Fox no longer in charge the school system should eliminate a few more of his henchmen. Hey, this might turn into a savings rather than a loss.

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.

Retiree

If there is anyone in a business that hold hands more than attorneys and judges tell me who it is. If you think that I am misleading you on what I print,explain. I have no problem naming people but the editors prohibit it. The only ones that are misleading the public are the Fox supports that condone having extra marital affairs. These people are the same ones that have been doing it for years. The people in Huron know exactly who you so called Don Juan's are.

I am hoping that this whole fiasco goes to court, so the truth is exposed. I know that the Fox supporters will never believe the truth. The only thing they believe is their lies. We will soon find out if the statement one of your friends made is true, "if I go down, your going with me". You know who said that, he is your relative. It's the same person who's name is on the sheriff's report and Fred's buddy. I sure hope the prosecution will use the sheriff's report in court.

UgtaBkdnMe

Retire, it looks like "Wald" can't see the "forest" for the trees and neither can T&J. They want to bring other people's past into the conversation when the truth is that they have an axe to Grind with the coach. When it comes to him, they can't think straight, almost like someone wrapped a Rug around their Head too tight. Notice how they don't like comments made about a certain employee who recently got his layoff notice?

Julie R.

"Is there anyone in a business that hold hands more than attorneys and judges tell me who it is."

From what I saw they ALL hold hands in Erie County. Attorneys, judges, prosecutor, auditor, recorder, sheriff, etc. Only one I saw that didn't hold their greasy little palms was the former clerk of court Barb Johnson. (can't say the same for some of her employees, though)

Julie R.

Hey Huronites --- or two, anyway. What was the name of that title company that did the required by law title search prior to that scam court-ordered by Binette sheriff sale? Was it Tri-Star abstract title company?

Retiree

Thanks for your comment. i know who they are. I would like to buy them for what they're worth and sell them for what they think their worth, I would have millions. Did you ever notice that Fred and his group think they are better than everyone else?

Tsu Dho Nimh

Alissa...please report to the readers how Mr. Asher and Mr. Caporini did not attend last night's special meeting. Mr. Caporini wants to seek a settlement option with Fred Fox (his friend) and you write that story. What about his attempt to hinder the district moving forward? I think that is a little bit more important. I would hope Mr. Westerhold would find their lack of cooperation to be news worthy.