Huron board member's suit against attorney bill reaches courtroom

Challenging the validity of a law firm's report, the attorney for suspended Huron Schools superintendent Fred Fox continued to fight for records during a court hearing Thursday.
Jessica Cuffman
Sep 21, 2012


Challenging the validity of a law firm’s report, the attorney for suspended Huron Schools superintendent Fred Fox continued to fight for records during a court hearing Thursday.

But Patrick Murray was not the lone lawyer present. Six other attorneys attended the hearing, representing three school board members and district treasurer Mike Weis in a lawsuit filed by board member Kevin Asher to keep the board from paying the $60,000 bill for the report.

The Markling report, prepared by attorney Matt Markling after he interviewed dozens of Huron schools administrators about Fox’s alleged conduct violations, concluded there were sufficient reasons to fire the superintendent.

Asher filed a lawsuit to keep the district from paying Markling’s bill after the school board voted 3-2 in June to suspend Fox and start termination proceedings against him.

Asher alleges the report is of poor quality, biased and overbilled.

For more on this story, pick up a copy of Friday's Register.



February - Board meets with attorney Matt Markling to discuss allegations made against superintendent Fred Fox.
May - Markling delivers 50-page report to board.
June 19 - Board suspends Fred Fox and votes to start termination proceedings against him.
June 20 - Markling report is released as a public record.
June 28 - Asher files lawsuit to keep board from paying Markling bill.
Sept. 6 - Fox’s attorney, Patrick Murray, answers to 23 allegations against Fox that the board says warrants his termination.
Sept. 12 - Fox files a lawsuit against board member Tim Sowecke, alleging defamation and libel and demanding more than $2.5 million in damages.



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 Huron Schools has dozens of administrators?


How unfortunate that all of these selfish acts are committed by people who are supposed to be responsible for the education of the children of Huron. In all of your petty infighting and rumor mongering, not once has anyone mentioned doing what's needed to provide the best education for your future, too busy taking sides and spreading gossip.


I seriously doubt that Ms. Von Thron will sue. Her reputation is beyond reproach and she doesn't need lawyers to prove it, donut guy. You should know it too and stop trying to make trouble where there is none.


 reading signs,

You are correct Ms. Von Thron's reputation is beyond reproach to us who know her.

Just pointing out the fact that Mr. Fox is worried about his reputation but he had no remorse in trying to tarnish some elses good name to cover for his misdeeds.

He should be careful of the path he is pursuing. His closet is full of situations that could come back to bite him if he continues with this lawsuit. 

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Ακόμη Sold σχετ...

Good post and advice Reading Signs-

This is Kevin Asher sueing to stop the payment for the illegally obtained and distributed report. Simple as that. Fred Fox has nothing to do with this, (except being slammed in it), Donut.

Reading vs skimming avoids innaccuracies.


 Hey Sold,

What's your spin on Mr. Fox using a principal to cover for his indescressions during the school day?


Huronites, read today's huron hometown newspaper to see the Tann's editorial for an educated perspective.


reading signs - that letter is just more of the same...yet to be proven.  Everyone has a job to do, lets let it play out.  Fox/Friends are trying to create chaos.  Thank goodness the attorney fees are covered.


@ Bye Bye Huron....of all the comments on here, yours seems to be the only one that makes much sense.  How true that is.  What a shameful thing this mess is and not once has anyone cared that this mess is hurting the school system or the students.

This sounds more like a story of Peyton Place than of a BOE and good education. 

Ακόμη Sold σχετ...


It's definately a mess created by the 'adults' resulting in lawyers making money; taxpayers paying lawyers; and yes.. children still being educated while it's all playing out. Like during a teacher's strike, education goes on.

However.. The scars created by this mess are going to linger.


@Akoun Sold oxet.....As I have said before.....this was, and it is just my opinion, all handled the wrong way.  I have been saying this from the very beginning.  I think it was done to cause the most embarrassment to Mr Fox that could be possibly inflicted instead of being handled behind closed doors as should have been done.

Frankly, whatever he did in the way of an extramarital affair, even if it was done on "company time' is none of the boards business any more than it is the community's business.  All of the complaints the board had should have been discussed with him openly and honestly in and executive session, giving him ample opportunity to answer the charges.  This just isn't how they handled it.  They chose to be like pit vipers and tear the man to shreds without so much as a chance.  Hiring an expensive law firm to "snipe away' was even worse.  

That added more fuel to the fire. Then HE hired a lawyer and the fight was on.  That lawyer requested the charges, and they refused.  NOT A GREAT MOVE.  When you make this many mistakes you have a HUGE problem.  Then ONE person goes AWOL from the group which shows that there is a problem.  Even HE says the report is filled with lies and misconceptions and files and injunction on payment.  Oh, my.  Problems within the ranks??? 

Next, a board member HAND DELIVERS the report to the State, without the accused even having been allowed to see it?  Do you have any idea what the State will think of that?  And what the State will think of the dissenting board members stand?  And the lawsuit?  How seriously do you think the State Board will take this now? 

This BOE is in serious trouble.  And I don't think they realize it.  A great deal has come out of this.  Accusations have been thrown on all sides and NONE of it is pretty. 

This hasn't been handled like adults at all...and frankly it started by the BOARD, not by Mr. Fox. 

Now, I don't know if this man did anything he shouldn't have done as far as that golf trip and money and such.  I don't care about the affair.  It is NONE of anyone's business but he and his wife's.  It certainly isn't the school boards busines. 

But the board handled this like a bunch of bullies.  And this is what they want their kids to learn?  Gang up on someone you want to get rid of?  Bully them out of their jobs and its ok, but YOU have the power?  Forget the rules.  Make them up as you go?  Its ok? 

I am really glad my kids went to Margaretta.  They didn't learn that kind of junk from the Margaretta BOE. 

Thank heavens for small miracles


Wired you have absolutly no clue do you.  Conducting an affair instead of doing your job as a public employee is none of the Board's or taxpayer business?  Your just as nuts as Sold.

Tell you what, go give your Super Kurt a big hug and tell him what a great job he's doing!  Not

Stay out of issues you have no business in!



tmm, who made you judge of who can say anything in this PUBLIC forum?

wired, you go girl!


simple reading signs...the same judge that gives the right to wired to say that a public employee can conduct an affair and be paid for it using taxpayer $ and that it is none of my business.  And then to go on about Margaretta's board - come on!  Pass a levy with your current board and super first.

Its only a matter of time before Sold chimes in so I'll beat the nut to the punch.  The proof I have is all in black and white.  It is docmented in emails as well as testemony as reported in the Markling report of which I and many others including all staff at Huron schools 100% agree with.  There is my evidence - what's yours?  your own opinion or heresay?  Provide specifics Sold - use real names, real evidence.  Again, my evidence is the report & I assure you the Markling report was Not rejected by the OEC.  As a matter of fact there is video proof of its acceptance.


Again, TMM, video proof of acceptance of the package is NOT acceptance by the board itself in it's content. You go on and on about it being "accepted" like you having a videotape of it being delivered is it being accepted. That just isn't true. It is a symantical injustice that you may be able to fool some people with but not all people.
Why is that so important to you?
Just today, Sunday, September 30th, there is an article in the paper that says the report included that the Kalahari tax abatement was NOT anything wrong. This is from the report YOUR board paid to get. YOUR BOARD PAID FOR.
This is what went to the State with. Have you read today's paper? Bet that was embarassing to some of you. That it wasn't any worse than any other tax abatement than anyone else would have gotten given the same circumstances. Wasn't that one of the BIGGIES in your complaints against Fox? Wow, one down, how many more to go?


tmm And this is YOUR business alone? Sorry but you guys over there made this everyone's business. If you didn't want anyone else sticking their noses in, you shouldn't have made such a PUBLIC mess of it. Sorry, but that is exactly what you all did. So don't tell everyone else to butt out of YOUR business, pal. Sorry the issue has gone public and there is little you or anyone else can do about other's commenting on it. Too bad.



Having an affair on company time is the same as theft.  So you condone theft?


No, donutshop guy, I don't condone theft. Do you condone spying on people's personal lives? Do you condone judging people for their shortcomings? Do you play judge when you have no right to judge? Do you know the particulars of all of this any more than I? Are emails free? Do they pay for them or are they parcel and post of the school system?
Who do they belong to? Who pays for the cell phones and the emails? Do you know? Are they part of the board's or school's or are they part of his salary? If they are part of his salary then it isn't theft, now is it.


Wired, school emails are public records.  Fox used school emails to conduct his affair.  Fox made it our business by doing that.  I do not pay taxes for his personal use, especially not for something as unethical as an extramarital affair.

How do you know the OEC didn't tell Sowecke or any other board member to hand in the report in person to speed up the process?

You are really going to put Margaretta on a pedestal?  Hahaha,,,that's a good one!

Julie R.

How do these victicious litigator attorneys get away with filing what amounts to nothing more than frivilous lawsuits --- like the comical 2.5 million for defamation and libel --- when the hypocrite corrupt Erie County courts actually PROHIBIT others from trying to protect their own rights that attorneys and other dirt-bags never had the right to criminally take away from them to begin with?  


Wired you keep asserting that they should have discussed this with him executive session.  Go back and read the articles.  They had a THREE HOUR executive session before they voted to sent it to Columbus - before it was public -  where he was given the opportunity to answer to the charges.  Your posts are intelligent and well written, but they are not factual.


No ONCE in those three hour executive sessions did they have him in to answer those charges. In fact, in the recorded session with his attorney, posted on here, his attorney asked for the charges and the board REFUSED to give them to him. In fact, they refused to discuss this with him. He had no idea what the charges where before they were sent to the state.
That is a fact. Perhaps the SR could play that particular audio tape again. That is why I was upset with the way this was handled.


I still cannot believe a handful of people are treating Fred Fox as the victim. It is his actions that are the root cause of all this mess.

Sure wish Wired or Sold would provide their resource that says the BOE or Tim did anything wrong by reporting this to the OEC. Reporting to the OEC is a process and they wouldn't have accepted the complaint without following their guidelines. Who cares if it was hand delivered or sent in the mail. The good 'ol boys have a great track record of hiding their misdeeds for decades so it makes sense no chances were taken getting this to the OEC

The big difference this time around is there is no "he said/she said". Fox put some of his own actions in black and white. On top of that,  there's a bunch of other suspicious activities that have been going on and remainsopen until the OEC investigation is competed.  The tax paying public has every right to know this was going on, and this time we were provided some of the evidence instead of a watered down media report or some lawyers twisted up version of the truth.

An affair conducted on his own time would be his private business. An affair conducted during school hours, using school property, and implicating  an innocent bystander is wrong in so many ways.

The vast majority of our community wanted to see Fox be successful. He failed us, not the other way around.

Tsu Dho Nimh

The Tann's shared their opinion, little that is backed with proof.  I'm not saying they do not have the right to their opinion or that their opinion does not count, I'm just saying that very little that they say can be supported with documentation. 


I am as sorry as I can be for those of you in Huron who see their board of education as being above reproach.  I just do not see it that way.  I don't know ONE SINGLE SOUL INVOLVED.   NOT ONE OF THEM.   Including some of the posters, some of with who I agree.  I just don't like sneeky politics. 

1.  How do ANY  of you know what went on in the executive sessions?  Executive sessions are closed to the public. Their discussions are not made public nor do any of you get to hear, see or read the actual transcripts of what is said during that time.  The only thing that any of us knows for sure is the ONE at which their was an attorney present representing Mr. Fox at which his attorney ASKED for an was REFUSED the documents listing what the charges were against him. That was the one the Sandusky Register had on line.  So I dismiss your theories that he had the right to nor was he invited to ANY of the ES meetings of the BOE meetings.  In fact, it is pretty obvious that he was NOT.  He was blind sided by the board and was not given the opportunity to see nor hear any of the charges prior to his dismissal with pay.   (that is on record)

If any of you had information about the executive sessions then you either have that illegally or you have it from members of the board, which IS illegal information and should NEVER have been discussed with any of you outside that room, especially now, in the event of this lawsuit.  The board members should know that.  If they don't perhaps they should consult their legal advisors.  That is a breach of school board business. 

2.  Any further discussion of Mr. Fox's PERSONAL business such as his 'so called affair" should NEVER have been brought up as something that was part of the forefront of their complaints.  It should not have been made a primary problem but one of a lessor problem.  It makes it look as if the board was "out to get him".  They should ahve stuck to the "golf outing" things and not the private matters of his life.  If he spent school money on his private matters that is one thing, then it is theft as some of you call it. 

Emails are free, not costing the board money.  If he had business in Fremont, then he isnt stealing either.  To conduct an affair on "lunch time' is HIS business and not the boards.  Again, that isn't theft. It is a bad choice on his part, but not theft. 

Using the schools email is free.  what he says on it is also his business.  Sorry, but again, it is vendicitiveness by vendictive people.  Bad judgement does not make one all bad.

3.   When you have a business problem....handle it that way.  If you were so worried about something you have to HAND deliever it, you have  serious problem.  It looks like you are too anxious.  Someone wanted that delivery done FAST.  When you want something done that fast you "walk it through" quickly, why?  What is the reason?  Especially when ONE member of your board is in protest?  when that board member says it is filled with LIES, MADEUP STORIES and INNUENDO and goes to court to stop payment?  That did it for me.  I wondered right then and there what was up?  why the rush to judgement when the mail would have done fine. 

Who is telling the truth and who the lies?  why the lawsuit?  I am beinging to wonder.  Like I said I have no ties to this, I am totally objective here.  I don't know anyone involved.  Not a sole one. 

Tmm...when you say video proof of acceptance.  Do you mean of them being HANDED the document.  That isn't proof of acceptance.  That is proof of the document being delivered.  THERE IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE-----.  DON'T TRY TO BE SO CONVINCING WITH AN OBVIOUS LIE.  . 

Informed and should be BETTER informed than you are. You're assuming.  Emails can be very one sided. Especially when you read only the side that your are given. Have you seen BOTH sides or just the one side?  Never believe half things, only the whole of something.  Beside that, you need to sure to get the other facts before judging a few. 

This board member was in a hurry to get it in and on the griddle.  Why the rush to judgement?  Why the need to see it go so quickly?  The old theme...."me thinks thou dost protest too much" was the second though through my mind. 

I have no stake in this.  I have no Win or Loss here.  Yes, Margaretta teaches lessons better geared toward less pettiness and less negativity than this.  You do not see this kind of thing going on over there.

Do you see front page news day after day of the BOE arguing sex, lies and video tapes of them??? NO.  They take care of kids first.  And they don't have the MONEY you guys have.  But they do have respect for their kids.  They do have better lessons to teach.  They teach respect, honor and dignity in their BOE, their teachers and with their classrooms. 

What, pray tell, is HURON teaching these days?  Seems to me, they aren't teaching much.  Their BOE is too busy fighting amongst themselves trying to outdo each other on who can beat each other up. 

Now that may be a bitter pill to swallow, but I am stating a fact that has been on the front page or the second page of the SR for months now.  YOU cannot deny it. 

Want to stop it.....stop your BOE from acting like idiots and get on with it.  Elect new ones or reing in your old ones because they are OUT of Control.  and they are making your school system look like idiots. 

Too bad your kids have to see that.  It sure isn't their fault.  How ashamed of their parents they must be.

Julie R.

Could be wrong but don't the Tanns own the Bed & Breakfast in Huron? If so, wasn't there some big to-do once about the funds that were donated to the Huron Rescue Squad?


Are the Tann's not known for showing up at a party with one "set of keys" and leaving with another?   I wonder if the Tann's and the Fox's keys did not get exchanged.  Just a thought.

Tsu Dho Nimh made some strong remarks about those of us who live in Huron and what we need to do.  It appears that much of what you feel is based off of information discussed on these posts, particularly what is shared by Sold.

Several of us (Tmm, Informed, Donutshoppe, Huron1969) have been keeping up with what has been released through public records and what has been occurring at board meetings.  If you have been at ANY of the board meetings you would know that Caporini and Asher are the ones speaking out and when they do, it is with the sole purpose to discredit the other 3 members.  When they do speak out, they make false statements that can be easily verified as lies.  There is a woman in town who submits letters to the editor in the local paper that addresses their lies with the correct information and where the reader can locate it.  The other 3 board members are not trying to sway public opinion. The board president stated at the Sept. 6 meeting that this mess in not going to be settled in the court of public opinion and that they are not there to try to sway us.  ODE and the OEC will decide Mr. Fox's fate.  The only point Mr. Sowecke has shared is that this all started when some whistle blowers came forward and that they came forward after the shift in power changed on the board.

Sold is the only source that I have come across that suggests that the OEC did not accept the Markling Report from Sowecke.  If you think that Sowecke was out of line to be the courier, that is your opinion but please don't jump on the Soldwagon that it was not accepted by the OEC.  Most of Sold's information is nothing but hearsay and echo's the whining of Caporini and Asher.  When this mess starts to settle, you will see that these two had a personal horse in this race.


I didn't say that Sowecke was "out of line' to be the courier...what I did say was "what was the rush"? To me, the entire mess seemed to be handled poorly and way to fast. To say nothing of handled in the wrong way.

Perhaps you can tell me why the board REFUSED (I heard that on the tape on here) to give Mr. Fox the complaints against him or give them to his attorney? Why didn't they want him to have them? Why did they rush them off to Columbus before giving him the chance to answer them himself? where they worried about having him answer them ? Why are some so worried about the difference between the symantics of a report being 'accepted' verses 'delivered'.

I have seen some of the public records and frankly, they are baffling as what is being read and what is being said are too far apart for my liking.

Then, today 9/30/2012, I read that the report filed by YOUR attorney hired by the school board sided with Fox and said the tax abatement did not exceed anything worse than what any other school board would give for anything else like you got. So I see that didn't go against Fox as the board said it would. (fact: the board complained that Fox gave an unfair tax abatement to Kalahari). Apparently that isn't true.
So you see, I don't think too much of what I see or hear on these boards or read on here. I think for myself.

As for the rest of it. Whistleblowers or not, cheaters or not, you cannot take a man to task for cheating on his wife unless that is part of his contract. If that is the main reason you want to get rid of him, it better be in his contract or you are going to have a lot of trouble.

First is was Kalarhari, now it's cheating. What's next, the color of his soxs? Really, seriously. Make up your mind. It is beginning to sound as if there is more to this than what meets the eye.

I believe there is a "personal horse" in this race, but I am not sure who owns him. And I don't do horse races. I like horses, but not horse races. I prefer no races at all. I prefer sure things. And with this kind of mess....nothing is sure.


Wired, you have a board member that doesn't even pay his taxes. Huron students consistently perform better than Margaretta students. Do you really want to get into a pi$$ing contest about school districts?
The computers, technology director, and district email system are not free, and he used these to conduct his affair. You apparently didn't read the emails. Both Fox' emails to the Fremont principal and hers to him were published. They were inaapropriate and unprofessional. And he wasn't just gone for a "lunch hour". He would be gone for hours at a time, and no Huron administrator has business in Port Clinton on a regular basis.
Maybe the board did some things incorrectly, maybe they didn't. That will be dealt with later. Regardless it absolutely does not excuse Fox's behavior.


Oh, no, no, no.....your board members don't get a pass on this one. They blew it from the time this started. They don't get a pass that later on, they get a wrist slap and told DON'T EVER DO THAT AGAIN. Do you realize they could have had this over with in 14 days time without any of this going on? But no, someone screwed up. Someone had to make a statement or got greedy about it.

They handled this all wrong. Executive session should have been held to meet about the problem. compile the complaints. Call him in and inform him in writing. Give him 7 days to answer in writing. send him out of the room, take a vote. call him back in tell him the vote and that is it. Simple, huh? That is all there is to it. But no, they didn't do that. They had to make a statement. They didn't want him to ever get another job. That is what they wanted. And look what it got them.

As for a pi##ing contest between districts. PLEEASSSSEEE. Don't be a child. Ours don't pay taxes and yours have affairs...that makes us even, don't you think?

And as of today, Sunday, September 30th, 2012...looks like even the law firm your board hired agreed that he didn't do wrong with Kalahari on the tax abatement so that part went out the window as far as complaints. I wonder what other things they will discount.


There is no such thing as free e-mail. You have to pay for the Internet connection. Or, go to the library.


That isn't what I MEANT.....I meant is it free with his salary or not.

Tsu Dho Nimh

Informed and Luv are correct. The school pays for an intranet system and access to the internet. John Caporini is a businessman. Would he accept employees using his computer system for personal use? I seriously doubt that he would be okay with employees conducting any personal business, especially an affair, on company time. If an employee took money from his business to cover personal expenses, he would fire them. He does not deserve to serve as our board member.


but is internet access a perk for the school superintendant?


Wired where in my posts do I go on and on about anything being accepted? The fact of the matter is the report was accepted and is being reviewed by the oec. You mention that foxs affair is no ones business. As a Huron taxpayer it is my business, if not, then this subject is none of your business. Truth be told it is all of our business.
Based on your comments regarding margarettas board and your desparaging remarks regarding huron, I'm betting you have some type of direct personal ties to your margaretta board. Here's a news flash...your district will never pass a levy with your current board and super. There is so much mistrust involved that your voters will vote no until they are replaced. With that said, huron is now on the same path.


I do not wish to argue with you about your comments. You and another poster had a syntax arguement concerning the delivery of the documents to the State. You said they were accepted he maintained they were not. You made it sound as if the board was taking them at face value, he made it sound as if they were not. It is that to which I was referring. Nothing more.

You have it all wrong, I am not connected to the Margaretta Board now nor have I ever been. I think the levy will pass as the people in Margaretta support their school. You think it won't. Only the election will tell.

As for the rest of this. I have never seen a community so divided and some so intent on trying to get rid of someone. Some of your town is terribly intersted in trying to oust this man at any costs. Others want to keep him. Had your board handled this properly, it would be done and over with, but they didn't. It is just that simple.

I would love to know, as a past educator, why they are doing what they are doing and why? Where his motives that bad? Was he that bad at his job? What is the real reason they wanted him gone? Are they trying to keep him from ever getting hired anywhere again? That seems to be the goal here.

Why would anyone want to ruin a man like that? Just curious.

Tsu Dho Nimh

Wired...The objective is not to ruin the man but to hold him accountable. He has misused and abused his power for over 2 1/2 years with a former school board allowing it. Talk to the teachers that work in Huron. He is a bully. The man changed a teacher's assignment because she would not violate the contract. He moved her to another content area and brought in a new employee to fill her former spot. The new teacher worked one year and then retired. Fox was not thinking of what was best for kids. He disrupted the education of over 100 students to prove that he was in charge. This is just one example. When someone is allowed to do whatever he wants with the blessing of two of the current board members, why would anyone be surprised that there would be several issues when he was finally addressed by the current board. Kudos to the board majority for doing the right thing even though it may not be welcomed by some.


Wired your last post says a lot. You have a lot of questions that you would like answered. Yet you have passed judgement on a community without all your answers. Does that really make sence?