Relationship between Fox, Kalahari under ethics review

An Ohio Ethics Commission investigation of Huron Schools superintendent Fred Fox centers on his friendship with Kalahari Resorts owner Todd Nelson.
Jessica Cuffman
Jun 19, 2012

An Ohio Ethics Commission investigation of Huron Schools superintendent Fred Fox centers on his friendship with Kalahari Resorts owner Todd Nelson.

Fox and Nelson readily acknowledge the friendship and say they have no concerns about it affecting Kalahari’s business relationship with the school district.

Ohio Ethics Commission has been asked to determine if reduced rates Fox received on golf outings at the Wisconsin Dells Kalahari resort violate rules against public employees soliciting or accepting anything of value from parties they regulate or with whom they do business.

Kalahari, which is partially in Huron Township and partially in Perkins Township, has received several tax abatements to encourage its expansion and growth. Any abatement must be approved by voting officials from the school district and other local government entities.

Fox, as the district superintendent, doesn't have a vote on the school board.

On May 22, after a four-hour heated executive session, the board voted 3-2 to send the investigation to the Ohio Ethics Commission for review.

“I did nothing wrong,” Fox said. “This is an apparent smear of me, trying to undermine my ability to run this district. I’ve done nothing wrong. Mr. Nelson is a friend of mine. That’s all I can tell you.”

View documents related to the investigation below and for a more in-depth look at the issues in question, pick up a copy of Tuesday's Register.

 

 

Comments

grizzly2504

donutshopwannabe how did you find out about "mr. hardware's" business? I do not believe you would have access to his accounting......you are a moron.  I am sure he does not make a killing there but he's been in business for quite some time.  Actually it is a great place to go for little things.  Think before you speak.  "Mr. Hardware" is actually a very nice guy.  Regardless of anything going on with the BOE and fox.  I will continue to buy stuff from ACE.  

Julie R.

As far back as I can remember Huron was always known as 'little Italy' --- cops were all Italians, the judges were Italians, etc., etc. Now that little Italy is no longer, Huron is STILL having problems.  

grizzly2504

donutshopwannabe.......do you have any idea what you are talking about?  really......the kids will be happy he is gone? you really dont know him or anything about the football program.  he is a great man and dedicates a lot of time to those kids.  again you really dont know much of anything that goes on in huron.

 

FlowerMom

Why is this even news?.  Someone is friends with someone else.  No one paid public money to anyone.  No contracts using school money or public money between Kalahari and Fox were in the discussion.  Private friends are private.  When you take a public job you should not have to worry about an investigation into your private life.

Sold On Fox 2

Well said FlowerMom !

Why is this even news?. Someone is friends with someone else. No one paid public money to anyone. No contracts using school money or public money between Kalahari and Fox were in the discussion. Private friends are private. When you take a public job you should not have to worry about an investigation into your private life.

 

When the ethics commission finds nothing improper what do we do next ?

Tsu Dho Nimh

Mr. Fox and his email history is the reason for the investigation.  He used his work email account to arrange the golf outing with Kalahari.  He refers to the participants as administrators, not as friends.  Team building is part of any business by why did they need to go to Wisconsin?  And why to Kalahari?  I would think a man with Fox's education level would be smarter than this.  Here is a tip Mr. Fox: in the future, conduct personal business on your personal time, with your personal email and refer to your buddies as friends. Oh, and leave the drinking part out.  People might just get a little suspicious and critical.  Just sayin'.

donutshopwannabe

 

Grizzly -

1) The trees had to be replanted.

2) Although Mr Hardware's business is private - you can find out his revenue from the web and then do the math.  Marginal at best.  Many, many have stopped going there.  Why?  Price is high, china products and what is currently going on in the area.  They have more China products than Menards.  Again, you measure the success of a business by the income statement and returns.

How successful was this businessman when he opened and closed the Hometown News in two weeks and took a bunch to the cleaners.  Returned nothing.  Many are still PO'ed about that.  Go ahead -- defend that.

I guarantee you there will be more on this.

3) And yes -- the kids don't like him.  Why would anyone?  He's disruptive to his neighborhood and to the environment where his successful business is (even though he rents).

grizzly2504

well then please provide the income statements of his business......is private. not public. also, i have a feeling you are not around the football program very much. the kids do like them. hes a great coach.thats why he has been there for the last 5 yrs or so.  i dont know the hometown news story but the last time i checked they still throw their papers on my front lawn at which time i promptly throw them out.

fudge pies
Tsu Dho Nimh says

Mr. Fox and his email history is the reason for the investigation. He used his work email account to arrange the golf outing with Kalahari. He refers to the participants as administrators, not as friends. Team building is part of any business by why did they need to go to Wisconsin? And why to Kalahari? I would think a man with Fox's education level would be smarter than this. Here is a tip Mr. Fox: in the future, conduct personal business on your personal time, with your personal email and refer to your buddies as friends. Oh, and leave the drinking part out. People might just get a little suspicious and critical. Just sayin'.

 

 

 

IT TOOK PLACE IN JULY.. HE HAS A NUMBER OF DAYS IN HIS CONTRACT OFF IN JULY,, IT WAS HIS PERSONAL TIME!! 

Tsu Dho Nimh

Look at his emails. He was using his school email account.

fudge pies

There isnt a law about fielding personal emails on a school email listing. Are you Saying if i send him an email that i had extra pair of tickets to the indians , yankees game would you like to go?  That he isnt allowed to respond?   

 

Tsu Dho Nimh

Most districts have use agreements that prohibit the use of school technology for anything other than professional use.  How can an administrator discipline a teacher, paraprofessional, bus driver, custodian, etd. if the administrators do not abide by the policy?  I have had personal emails sent to my professional account and simply responded that the sender please contact me at my personal email. 

The point of my original post was that Mr. Fox used school email to contact a business (not a personal friend through personal email) in order to arrange a party trip (remember the drinking?) for his administrators.  Not all of the emails with Kalahari was with his good buddy but also with another employee.  It is really hard for me to believe that this was just one friend who who wanted to hang out with a group of guys at his buddy's resort.  Again, Mr. Fox should know better than to conduct this type of business using school equipment.  It does not look good to the taxpayer and he appears to think he is above the rules.

fudge pies

Again, there isnt any rule against doing such.  Agree it doesnt look to be in the best of interest.  But there isnt any rule against doing it.  IM still trying to find in any of this mess  where he crossed the line at?  Again. IF this is the only thing the ethlics code is looking into,  then I dont see  any wrong doings.  There is nothing there.

Darkhorse

Mr. Fox may be a just a superintendent with no voting rights, BUT I would think he has a great deal of influence over the board members' votes.  I think what the Register is trying to do is bring awareness to appropriate ethics.  All the professional business people know what they need to be doing in the way of ethics.  They should not be playing dumb.  And, how many times does it have to be said not to use your business e-mail for personal use which is subject to public records.  The Ethics Committee doesn't make up these rules to have them disreguarded.  They are there for a reason, to protect the taxpayer.  

 

wiredmama222

So this is what the Huron School board is all in a thither over?  OMG, are they all complete morons on that board?  Who gives a tinkers darn that the non voting member of the school board played golf with the people at Kalahari?  They got a new stadium out of it because Kalahari happens to be in PERKINS AND HURON your dummies. 

WHY is it that this board is out to "get" this guy?  Is it jelously or more?  These emails seem pretty straight forward.  The man offered to pay full price and they don't show much of anything else like the school board is alleging. 

The State Board is going to tap dance all over this school board when they see this.  If I were the school board members I would get ready for a real nasty thrashing from the State over this one.  RUN FOR THE HILLS you guys, quickly.  This is about as embarrassing a false accusation as you can get based on nothing but innuedo. You better have more than this to accuse him of.  From what you show here, you don't have it.  Wow, what a bunch of cry baby's and nit wits they have on that school board. 

concerned huron...

It seems that at least one board member is in violation of the Ohio School Board Assocations Code of Ethics in that he is there to promote his own agenda rather than the educational welfare of the children within the district, which should be a board member's first and foremost concern.

Maybe a campaign should be started to get the offending member to resign or be recalled.  He hasn't even been on the board a year, seems to be creating chaos and turmoil, wasting tax payers' money, and apparently has no regard for the lost future contributions from Kalahari.  Do we really want him to be on the board  until 2016?  If there were an ethics concern, shouldn't the Ethics Committee have been called in first to investigate for free rather than wastings thousands of dollars that should have been put to better use for such things as teacher training? 

I wonder where the funds will be coming from to pay for this? 

http://www.ohioschoolboards.org/files/communique10-8.pdf

donutshopguy

 concerned huron,

If it's anything to do with schools...it's coming out of your pocket. Unless you don't pay property tax and then it's coming out of mine.

If you don't like a board member start a recall petition and get ready to pay for the cost of the special election.

concerned huron...

No special election required to fill board vacancy:

 

How will the board vacancies be filled?  Copied from link...

Under Ohio law, a single vacancy in a board of education is to be filled by a majority vote of the remaining members of the board. If the board fails to fill such a vacancy within a period of 30 days, the probate court of the county in which the school district is located is required to do so. In addition, a recent opinion of the

Ohio attorney general has held that one remaining board member cannot act to fill four vacancies on a board because the board lacks a quorum to act. The attorney general indicated that in that circumstance the probate court is to immediately have the responsibility of filling the vacant board positions. Similar reasoning is likely to be applied to a board left with two members after three vacancies have occurred.

 

Although unlikely, it may be more effective to boycott the store in the hopes of forcing a resignation from the board.

Gardenman

We had a choice this morning to either stop at Mr Hardware's establishment or drive over to Home Depot. We chose to drive to Sandusky and ended up at Lowe's and bought a little over $60 worth of items. Those items could have been bought right here in Huron but we did not given the current situation. We would have stopped at the the grocery store right next door but since we were at Lowe's we drove on over to Meijer. So from just our business today both Huron establishments lost our business.

My father who was a local businessman use to say "people vote with their feet" and today that is exactly what we did. Doing that once makes it a whole lot easier to do the next time and the next time after that. 

 

Flip

 Fred Fox and Todd Nelson were college roommates...  How many of us do not associate with our college friends...  YES, even go to their childrens weddings...  Come on people, get a life and concern yourself about World matters, not friendly family gatherings man...

just ice

 No they were not college roommates. They wouldn't know each other if it weren't for their business relationship.  What a fan club you have here.  I wonder what will happen when more of the story is revealed. 

Inside man

 We as teachers have been given special discounts to go to Kalahari with our families.  We've been given discounts for rooms that others have not.  Does that mean we've also broken laws?  I think Mr. Nelson is a very successful businessman and has been great to the Huron community.  He is a generous man by nature.  Every community he has business in has benefited from his ambition! We would be stupid as a community to let one man's agenda ruin the positive relationship between Kalahari and the Huron City school system.  Before reading today's article I truly thought Fred might have crossed a line. Total reversal in my mind.... We need to move on and keep putting our time and energy into our children.  I love Huron, love the school system I work for, and think the faster we put this to rest, the better it will be for our children.

CAST THE FIRST STONE

OK inside man in other words all you people shut up or we are going to loose our special perks because we are teachers. Is there no end to the madness. School systems are out of control because you feel special and should be treated special. We care and love our kids more than you do. I teach them things every day. Where is my special discounts. Right..no discounts for me just raise taxes so i pay for your bennys. This is where you right back you should of been a public employee then

fudge pies

Jun 19, 2012
04:53 PM CAST THE FIRST STONE says

OK inside man in other words all you people shut up or we are going to loose our special perks because we are teachers. Is there no end to the madness. School systems are out of control because you feel special and should be treated special. We care and love our kids more than you do. I teach them things every day. Where is my special discounts. Right..no discounts for me just raise taxes so i pay for your bennys. This is where you right back you should of been a public employee then

 

 

 

 

 

 

How a teacher,administrator or supporter at a school spends their own money is up to them!  Your taxes is paying for education of the community in which you live.  Huron City Schools have a high standard for academic success.  That is a reflection on the teachers and staff of the school system.  They are doing a great job in the field of education, and if we can get them some perks for appreciation, then lets do it!  because they are special people.  Its not easy to educate a room of 25-30 kids.  Dealing wit different attitudes , different goals, and being YOUR baby sitter for a full day.

 

Your discount is when your kid is rewarded 500 dollar or more scholarship to attend college.  And move on to his / her college degree and get a solid job !  Thats your discount!

Inside man

I did not mean that at all.  I never asked for anything special.  Our superintendent wanted to thank us for our hard work.  I'm guessing he made the arrangements for the rooms which happened to be during a very slow time for Kalahari. Since we can't earn bonuses, etc. for good performance, it was a way to a say thank you and to create positive staff moral. It hasn't happened recently, was never expected, and to be honest I could care less if it happens again.  It was nice, but certainly not expected.  I'm not some 100% pro-Fred yes man. In fact, I didn't like the way he handled our financial crisis a few years back, don't like how he treats people when he'd cant easily get his way, and don't care for the nepotism in the district.  I don't have to like everything about a person to realize that there is a witch hunt where there is no witch.

By the way I never claimed to love your kids more than you. I also teach my children (who attend Huron) much that they couldn't possibly learn in school. I'm not sure what your point was with that.  I do know that I pour my heart and soul into my job and given the current system get no more or less than someone who sits back and pops dvd's in half the time. So what I'm saying is I recognize there are flaws with our education system.  Lets work to fix them instead of throwing insults at someone you don't have a clue about.

Finally, are you saying that you actually want to be paid or be rewarded by the Huron community for doing your job as a parent?  You are comparing apples to oranges. Teaching is my job. People in any job can be rewarded for a job well done. If we had more of that instead of a one size fits all approach to education, we'd vastly improve the system.  (Not an easy way to measure though...) Todd Nelson gave us a discount as teachers.  You too can get a break. As far as I know anyone can walk in the high school office and buy discounted tickets as part of the relationship Kalahari and Huron have.  

CAST THE FIRST STONE

you seem to be unlike some other teachers i know. Just tired of hearing that if we dont go along with everything schools want.. ie levys we dont care about kids. i know some people inside some of the schools . The things that go on that cost so much money for so little worth to the kids. I guess i just have stopped trusting the school systems .I know a area principal that would like to make real changes but would be ran out if he tried.

bored reader

This whole ethics thing is getting attention at businesses. I think it was a large part from the Enron scandal. That helped bring about Sarbanes -Oxley which has just been a money maker for more gov't entities. At work, we have to take a course each year on ethics and pass a quiz. We can not accept gifts over a certain $$ value. It gives the impression that you may want to help award contracts or throw more business to a particular vendor. When you accept the gifts or even discounts you can become indebted to the giver even if that wasn't your intention. It just gets so ridiculous. Just do business and treat each other as you would want to have your business run. I don't see what the guy did so bad that it warrants all this fuss but I'm sure my employer would feel differently.

clementine

@ mom of 2 boys:  I was evidently not clear enough.  My intention was for the Huron people to stop boasting about their academics.  They cannot be compared to the surrounding districts because or their specific demographics.

Also, to compare what Huron teachers do to what teachers in the other Erie County districts do is like comparing apples to carrots (no comparison at all).

It is my understanding Kalahari offers these same discounts to teachers in other districts.  Perhaps Perkins and Edison should have gotten other perks like "carpet" for their schools since Kalahari property is in their districts also.

Business relationships aren't always without corruption.  Right, Guido!

Hmm

smalltown - he's allowed to respond to the email, and he could take the tickets if they came from you, but not Todd Nelson.

Hmm

smalltown did you read the article in the print edition, including the box describing what is an ethics violation?  Its not online.

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