Huron board OKs two resolutions relating to Fox investigation

School board members met behind closed doors Saturday morning to discuss legal issues surrounding the Fred Fox investigation and the Kevin Asher lawsuit.
Jessica Cuffman
Aug 27, 2012

School board members met behind closed doors Saturday morning to discuss legal issues surrounding the Fred Fox investigation and the Kevin Asher lawsuit.

The Huron Schools board of education and two attorneys met for an hour and 45 minutes while eight people waited to see whether they'd take any formal action after their discussion.

By a vote of 3 to 2, they did approve two resolutions, one to rescind a motion passed at their regular August meeting and the other to approve a new version of that motion.

The move clarified the board's approval to waive attorney-client privilege, so three law firms can share information regarding the investigation and the lawsuit.

McGown and Markling conducted the investigation into allegations made against superintendent Fred Fox, which ultimately lead the board to initiate termination proceedings against him and to place him on paid leave June 19.

The law firm will now be able to share that investigation with Spengler, Nathanson and Hanna, as well as Campbell and Powell, two other law firms playing roles in the investigation and the lawsuit.

The board also approved language to allow the investigation to be shared with the Ohio Ethics Commission and any of that agency's investigators.

Board members have said the investigation already was delivered to the ethics commission.

In past meetings, the board also voted to send the investigation to the state auditor and the state board of education.

Spokesmen for both those agencies have told the Register they can neither confirm, nor deny whether they received the investigation or if they are otherwise investigating Fox.

Board president Scott Slocum said after Saturday's meeting the board chose to meet then because that's when each of the attorneys needed for the discussion could be present.

He declined to comment on the status of the termination proceedings the board voted earlier this year to initiate against Fox.

Fox is accused of having an improper business relationship with Kalahari Resorts CEO Todd Nelson, evidenced by Fox accepting discounted rooms, free golf and other alleged gifts when visiting the business' Wisconsin Dells resort.

Board member Kevin Asher filed a lawsuit against the board of education to keep the district from paying the $50,000 bill from McGown and Markling.

He alleges the report is biased and slanted purposefully against Fox.

Comments

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Gardenman-

You replayed what happened at the Ohio School Board Convention so vividly I could see it running like a movie in my head.

Would accepting the 10 'free' hours of legal work be considered a worse offense than accepting discounted golf ?

Tmm

re Gardenman 

don't forget to mention that in the meantime Fox was having "lunch" in Fremont instead of doing his job.

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Tmm-

Don't forget that Fred Fox actually DOES get a lunch. Do you ? Are you governed as to what to do on that lunch ?

Put yourself in Fred Fox's shoes before you condemn him. The 'affair' is Fred Fox and his family's business and should have stayed that way. Tim Sowecke took care of the publicity.

wiredmama222

If this ISN"T a witch hunt, then why did that board in Huron take such pains to run down to the State board and HAND DELIVER that report? Why did they cut off the investigation so abruptly before it was completed? Half a report isn't a report at all, is it?

I don't get any of this. Maybe I am not supposed to as I live in another city and none of my family ever lived in Huron nor attended school there.

It just seems to me that this school board is acting like a bunch with a "grudge". Why did this "suddenly" appear after that field got built? Why so "quickly"?

If their were this many problems with the superintendent, were there warning shots fired from the board to him prior to this? If the problems were ongoing, did he get reprimands from the board prior to this huge explosion? If not, why not?

See, I told you I didn't get it. I don't see how a board could let things get this bad without discussing these problems much quicker than this before letting them get to this state? It makes no sense.

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Mama -

Once again you've hit the nail on the head.

NO REPRIMANDS ? Why ?

Three members of the Huron Board of Education jumped on this faster than flies on certain poster's words.

This is all about things that happened in the course of Fred Fox doing his job.

The board is in trouble now. They have done everything they can to screw Fred Fox and publicly to try to get public opinion on their side.

It will all come out in the wash, Mama !

Huron_1969

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the "whole country" did not forgive Bill Clinton. He disgraced his office and position, just as Fox disgraced his. Both are now punch lines and easy fodder for jokes. This is not what we expect or deserve from our leaders. You can spin this anyway you want (which seems to be endless) but the bottom line is Fox brought this on all by himself

Justme...

Give Sold a break.  He's being played.

Justme...

Give Sold a break.  He's being played.

Huron_1969

or "Sold Out"

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Huron_1969-

I am going to assume from your posts that you have personally never made a mistake ?

Am also going to assume if you graduated in 1969 that you are connected in a way that is so totally 'sold out' that I can't begin to describe it here because I will be deleted by you and your 'sold out' friends.

Or.. If I assume you were born in 1969 I would say you're not old enough to remember some of the actions that lead to this attack on Fred Fox.

Either way your opinion is tainted.

I do not disagree about the disgracing the 'office' but if you have never been in a position such as Fred Fox's I guess you also would not understand that he is actually a person just like you or me.. and as a person he is prone to make mistakes.

Sorry that you are on such a lofty post that you are in a position to make decisons on the morals of others. Actually I am sorry for all of those that you judge as you are so un-judgable.

Have you ever heard/read: Judge not or you'll be judged ?

Here's some judging: What Tim Sowecke did in 'hiring' Markling and then hand delivering a document that would allow you and others like you to judge a man who has done so much more for kids than you ever dreamed of.. That is unforgivable and also criminal.

Sorry about the lawsuits that are going to involve your former classmate in legal issues for years to come.

And we'll see how many forget what the 3 Stooges have done to the Huron City Schools, the City of Huron and the reputation of one good man.

You 'sell' yourself short with your childish posts 69...

Justme...

Sold down the river. Just another victom.

Huron_1969

Sold, my family moved here in 1969 and I graduated in 74 with Fred. Even though I have never been part of the in crowd or good 'ol boys club, I had a terrific time in school and ever since. I also thought it was great when Fred became the superintendent since he was a fellow classmate. Also, you may recall when all this started I was one of the early posters suggesting a petition to recall the board. Then more information came out and I ate a healthy portion of crow.

Mistakes?  I try to keep my daily limit below 10 or so. When I mess up, I'm man enough to admit it and take responsibility

I have proudly lived in Huron for over 43 years and am very involved in the community and along the way I have paid mucho dollars in real estate and income taxes. Nothing lofty in thinking we all deserve better leadership and have been "Sold Out" by Fox.

Keep the spin coming, we all know you will

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Huron_1969-

Good to learn more about you and to hear that you at least believed in Fred Fox before the 'infamous' Markling report came out.

We have not been 'sold out' by Fred Fox. Fred Fox made a mistake and has more than paid for that mistake already. Being publicly outed in front of God and your family is pretty stiff punishment.

This board of education should have handled the Fred Fox situation by giving him at least a reprimand. He's never even had that. He's had raises and praises but never anything resembling a reprimand ?

I'm sure I know you and you're not Chris Whector... lol. I want to reason with you and others on here and try to get you all to see that I am not the one 'spinning' the information here. The information was spun by an attorney 'hired' to do 10 free hours who then turned in a $50,000 report that was so entirely slanted that it was even printed in the report that if someone had nothing incriminating to say that it wasn't worth including what they had to say in the report.

We do deserve better leadership, but so does Fred Fox. Look what his 'leaders/superiors' have done ?

Your earlier suggestion to recall this board may soon become a reality. One member of this board took it upon himself to totally smear Fred Fox publicly and by doing so he actually committed several crimes. They are civil in nature, but crimes none the less.

Fred Fox has done his job.

Fred Fox will be back at work as superintendent of the Huron City Schools and a year from now no one except Tim Sowecke will even remember this happened. Sowecke will have a constant reminder every time he has a court date.

ps.. Thank you for being candid !

Common Sense

Re:  Sold

Your have provided a strong support for Mr. Fox. However, there are two questions that I believe you would be hard pressed to answer.

1.)  Don't forget that Fred Fox actually DOES get a lunch. Do you ? Are you governed as to what to do on that lunch ?  

I do get a lunch and, as an area educator, I am required to sign out should I leave the building for whatever reason.  It is a matter of accountabiity.  The report, however, indicates that Fred Fox frequently left the building with an excuse that was a lie.  That lie even included one of his staff members unwillingly.  Although the actions during my lunch are not governed, I make certain I return within the limit of my lunch period.  He may be the superintendent, but he sets the course for the rest of the district.

2.)  This is all about things that happened in the course of Fred Fox doing his job.

I believe that it is difficult for many to bellieve that it was necessary for Fred Fox to spend as much time as he did working with the former administrator at the other school district.  The report tells us what was accomplished off the clock. What should we think he did with his time while on the clock???

 

Common Sense

Re:  Sold

Your have provided a strong support for Mr. Fox. However, there are two questions that I believe you would be hard pressed to answer.

1.)  Don't forget that Fred Fox actually DOES get a lunch. Do you ? Are you governed as to what to do on that lunch ?  

I do get a lunch and, as an area educator, I am required to sign out should I leave the building for whatever reason.  It is a matter of accountabiity.  The report, however, indicates that Fred Fox frequently left the building with an excuse that was a lie.  That lie even included one of his staff members unwillingly.  Although the actions during my lunch are not governed, I make certain I return within the limit of my lunch period.  He may be the superintendent, but he sets the course for the rest of the district.

2.)  This is all about things that happened in the course of Fred Fox doing his job.

I believe that it is difficult for many to bellieve that it was necessary for Fred Fox to spend as much time as he did working with the former administrator at the other school district.  The report tells us what was accomplished off the clock. What should we think he did with his time while on the clock???

 

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Common Sense-

You do have it... Common sense that is.

The superintendent may set the course for the rest of the district, but no where is it written what, where, how, or how long his/her lunch period involves.

Fred Fox's accomplishments are more than well documented. The school system WAS ENTIRELY IN STATE RECEIVERSHIP WHEN HE CAME !

Three teachers RAN the school district.

I can go on, but why ? Fred Fox has accomplished more in his tenure at Huron than most superintendents do in a career. Two careers.

You have common sense. Fred Fox had an affair. Fred Fox made a mistake. There was absolutely no reason to make the details of the EVENT public in an organization that is run LIKE A BUSINESS because IT IS A BUSINESS !

The Huron Board of Education has an obligation to keep the district running and educating children. They are also the biggest employer in Huron.

Why would Fred Fox be treated unlike any other Huron City School employee and instead of reprimanding him for what they absolutely know, they actually made things up in order to completely smear him and try to win the public's approval ?

How far will this board go ?

Would you work for them knowing what you know ?

I am a retired business owner who has paid plenty of Huron property taxes. I do not appreciate the way this board is handling my money !

Fred Fox has more than paid for his bad decision. The Free to $50,000 Markling report was nothing more than a public caneing thanks to Mr. Tim Sowecke and friends.

Now what is it that you have that requires him to forfeit his career ?

Tsu Dho Nimh

Wired Mamma...the reason the report was abruptly stopped is because board vice-president John Caporini informed the law firm to stop it immediatley. 

You cannot just send or hand deliver information to the ethics commission because you want to.  First, the commission is contacted, usuallly by phone, and the situation is discussed with one of its investigators.  This person will determine if it is something they are concerned with.  If so, the investigator sends out an allegation form and once completed, the person filing the allegation returns the form with any evidence.  I am assuming that Mr. Sowecke delivered it himself to make sure it was received and not lost in the mail.

McGown and Markling are not going to compromise their integrity by giving Tim Sowecke  a made-to-order report.  Check out their website.  They are a reputable law firm that specializes in this area of school law.  The board's regular legal council does not typically deal with this type of investigation and could not be unbiased as they have established a relationship with all parties involved.  I find it reasonable to believe that Brickler and Eckler referred the board to McGown.

The emails alone without the Markling report is very incriminating and would be of interest to the OEC.  Fred Fox definitely made some choices that need investigating.

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TDN -

I am becoming an expert on revisionist history just by reading your posts.

Caporini did not stop the Markling report. Caporini AND Asher stopped a 'free' attorney from charging the district $50,000. Simple. Digest it and then come back.

Brickler and Eckler DID NOT REFER the board to McGowen and Markling. Brickler and Eckler would not touch this mess. You need to read an earlier post which describes how Markling got involved. The post reads like the writer was actually there. Tim Sowecke 'hired', wait.. Tim Sowecke bullied Slocum and Greene into accepting 10 'free' hours of Markling's work. The ten 'free' hours turned into $50,000 and that is where Caporini and Asher have a problem.

To say the Markling report is not slanted just proves to me that you are NOT dealing with reality any more. The report itself states when a 'testimonial' does not meet the required level of Fred Fox bashing that the person was either hiding something, or the person had nothing to say. Even you could read this TDN. It was not hidden.

I am stating absolutely with no doubt that Tim Sowecke hand delivered the Markling report to the Ethics Commission thus making it a public document. Do not be delusional and think this story is made up. He did it. He did it for a reason. He did it without the board's approval or even the boards knowledge. He did it as Tim Sowecke 'citizen' because if he is not sitting in an authorized board of education meeting he is not a board member.

You seem to be as determined as Tim Sowecke to get Fred Fox ? What exactly did Fred Fox do to you ?

I agree with you that Fred Fox made some decisions that need to be investigated, but if what Fred Fox did was so terrible, why didn't the board just fire him ? Three treasurers ago the man was fired. It didn't take a public lynching to do it ? You should have seen what the board had on him. But.. In the interest of the WHOLE school system it was deemed prudent to let him go quietly.

Do you think if this board actually had something on Fred Fox that it would have hesitated to fire him ? Think about this before you revise some more facts !

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and TDN -

Attorney Markling is receiving so much 'bad press' because of his handling of this that I would not be surprised to see him waive his $50,000 fee.

Stay tuned..

CAST THE FIRST STONE

These school supers all act like they are above all others. You see them at coffee shops..malls..resturaunts all on school time. Not just Fox i know others from my brother being a area principal. Most wasted money in school system. There should be 1 per county so they have enough to do instead of having affairs and golf outings.. Those are facts not guessing

 

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Cast Stone-

While in theory your suggestion may work in smaller counties and actually makes sense.

There is a sense of competition among county superintendents and their salaries are actually even set by the other salaries in their counties.

Some would say we have too many principals, too !

2sense

 Looks like kalahari was very generous to the school in general

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2sense-

Kalahari is the number one biggest property tax payer in Huron !

Not even mentioning the stadium renovation Kalahari and Todd Nelson have worked very hard and given plenty to be treated like this.

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There is a real world out there, people.

In that world there is a correct way to handle every situation.

I have never 'spun' this event. I don't have to. There are facts:

1)  Fred Fox made a bad decision and had an affair.

2)  The Huron Board of Education DID NOT reprimand Fred Fox for having an affair.

3)  The Huron Board of Education has NEVER reprimanded Fred Fox for anything.

4)  Fred Fox traveled on school related business and was reimbursed for his travel.

5)  Upon finding that a portion of his reimbursement was not justified, Fred Fox paid that portion back.

6)  Attorney Markling was asked to provide 10 'free' hours of his time to look into the decisions of Fred Fox.

7)  Attorney Markling came back with a $50,000 report that was so slanted it would have made Jesus Christ look suspicious if it was a report on him.

8)  The Markling report stated when 'interviewees' had nothing bad to say about Fred Fox.

9)  Tim Sowecke, (Huron board member, but not at the time as there was no meeting going on), took it upon himself to hand deliver the Markling report to some state agency thus making the report a 'public' document.

10)  Huron Board of Education members John Caporini and Kevin Asher attempted to stop the payment of $50,000 for the Markling report as it was not 'officially' ordered by the Huron Board of Education.

11)  Speculation caused by the Markling report has caused Fred Fox's reputation and work ethic to be questioned by the public.

12)  Kevin Asher, acting as a citizen, filed an injunction to stop the Huron Board of Education from paying $50,000 for the unauthorized Markling report.

13)  Fred Fox has not been fired.

I can go on and on, but why ? You, hopefully, get the picture. Fred Fox is totally the victim here and I know some of you find it appalling that I say that, but if you were in his shoes you may think otherwise.

So.. Go ahead and attack me and what I say because you like the majority of the Huron Board of Education's story better. It is more sensational.

But.. If you go through the facts, (and there are plenty more, but I do not want to taint any future legal procedings with my words), you are going to find that anyone with any common sense knows that some of what Fred Fox has been 'accused' of doing may be regretable, but not cause for him to lose his career.

Has the football team won any games yet ?

betweenlines

 You seem to have changed your tune sold..I thought he was "mentoring" the principal. Now you admit it was an affair!?!? Did you ever consider that during this affair he stopped doing his job? Maybe he wasn't available because he was busy doing something else? Do you really think he would have gone quietly? I wish he would have. It would have saved the community a lot of money. It's not too late...nothing is stopping him from dropping it all and walking away. Fred did a great job at one time but unfortunately he isn't anymore and he needs to go.

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Betweenlines-

My stance has always been there is no solid proof of an affair. I decided to give this one to critics and those of you who really need some reason to hold onto this whole mess. So... What if there was an affair ? Take that out of the equation and what do you have ?

So you have decided that Fred Fox has not been doing his job. Why was he not EVER reprimanded by the people who's opinion REALLY counts ?

I did not notice any problems with the school system due to Fred Fox's affair. Did you ? Could you list them ? Just so I know what was really going on and how the system suffered due to Fred Fox being distracted. Did the tax dollars from Kalahari stop flowing in ? Oh wait.. Was there a discount to the tax dollars in return for discounted golf ?

Maybe we should ruin someone's career and reputation today. After all he is pesky and keeps us from getting what we want when we want it. What do you think ?

Isn't it ridiculous when you say it out loud, Betweenlines ?

Why would Fred Fox just walk away from the job he earned ? Because you think it's appropriate ? Run for the school board and you can make decisions like these, BetweenLines ! Oh wait. Easier to sit back and judge than it is to actually get involved.. And there is the risk that someone doesn't like you and will do anything to make YOU look bad. There is that.

Judge others as you would be judged. Simple advice.

Julie R.

I still find it comical that an attorney would actually file an injunction to prevent other attorneys from being paid. That has to be a first-time ever. The going rate for attorneys in this area is $125 to $150 an hour. So how many hours did McGown & Markling put into the investigation against Fox? They certainly must have itemized copies of what they did, right?

On the other hand, Erie County just might have cut off their own noses to spite their faces. I say that because of the lawsuit filed by Vermilion's former mayor, Jean Anderson, against the city of Vermilion, their law director, and the law director's Lorain County law firm of Stumphauzer & O'Toole (who handle the legal issues for the city) for refusing to provide itemized copies of what they have been charging the Vermilion taxpayers for. So far, I believe the courts have sided with the Lorain County law firm using that well-worn out attorney/client privilege crap so this case against the law firm of McGowan & Markling not being paid for the services they rendered should be very interesting --- especially if they don't have to show any itemized copies that warrant their $50,000.00 fee. After all, judges are supposed to follow their own and/or the precedent of other judges in similar cases to avoid all hints of impropriety, right?  

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Julie R-

While you are making sense you are dancing around one critical fact:
McGowan and Markling were NOT HIRED to amass this report.

If they had been hired then what you are saying about an attorney filing an injunction to stop another attorney from being paid would all make sense.

I'll say it again: McGowen and Markling WERE NEVER HIRED TO AMASS THE REPORT !!!

McGowen and Markling offered 10 FREE hours of work to a 'potential' client. After the Huron Board of Education agreed to take the 10 'FREE' hours of legal work, (and.. there might be some arguement as to whether the Huron Board of Education 'legally' obtained the 10 'FREE' hours of service as apparently the OK may not have been given in an actual Huron School Board meeting making even the original 'FREE' agreement null and void), but.. the Huron Board of Education, all/part/one member agreed to 10 hours of 'free' legal service and Markling came back with a huge muckraking report and a $50,000 bill.

Please stop playing niave to the facts. Anyone having your information and knowledge can understand and accept this SIMPLE play by play. By now you know that McGowen and Markling were NOT HIRED by the Huron Board of Education, at least not legally, and as such the Huron Board of Education cannot be required to pay their outrageous bill.

Do you have some type of financial ties to McGowen and Markling that puts it in your best interest for them to be paid the $50,000, Julie R ?

Tsu Dho Nimh

Sold...Reread my posts.  I don't recall ever saying that Fred Fox should be fired.  I have been consistent in saying that there is enough evidence for him to be investigated for wrong doing.  Two board members have time and time again voted to not pursue the appropriate action.  Just because something is turned over to the OEC, ODE, and the state auditor's office does not mean that he will be found guilty.  The guidelines for the OEC and ODE is very clear - if you have information that is questionable, err of the side of reporting.

Here is a side note:  I personally could care less if someone checked my background because there isn't anything incriminating.  Open what ever records you want.  Why would the two board members not feel the same?

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TDN-

They, (Caporini and Asher), are NOT trying to keep anything quiet no matter how their votes look. They are not voting NOT to pursue 'appropriate' actions.

I'm not a huge fan of either, but can assure you they are really only keeping the 3 Stooges from sticking their feet farther into their own mouths and taking them along with them as part of the same board.

Reporting 'properly' is not the problem. If only it had been done that way from the beginning !

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