'Free' counsel to Huron schools turns costly

Judge dismisses suit that stalled school district's payment to attorney in Fox probe.
Jessica Cuffman
Feb 17, 2013

 

An attorney’s promise to provide 10 free hours of service has turned into a $90,000 bill for Huron Schools.  
Erie County Common Pleas Court Judge Roger Binette this week dismissed a lawsuit that had kept Huron Schools from paying attorney Matt Markling for his work on the Fred Fox investigation.  
Early last year, the board voted 3-2 to hire Markling to investigate Fox’s alleged misdeeds, including his interactions with a district vendor and an extramarital affair on school time.  
After interviewing a number of district employees, Markling issued a 50-page report that concluded the board had substantial reason to fire Fox.   
Markling had told board members his first 10 hours of work would be free, and he would send a bill for any additional work. He kept his word — he submitted a $50,000 bill in June, followed by a $10,000 bill in July, $12,000 in October, $5,300 in November and $11,400 this past week. 
The Fox fiasco has effectively divided the school board, with the majority — Donna Green, Scott Slocum and Tim Sowecke — voting in June to fire Fox. 
The other two members, Kevin Asher 
and John Caporini, voted against the firing. 
The board ultimately suspended him without pay, pending the outcome of termination proceedings overseen by the Ohio Department of Education.   
Asher, however, also filed the lawsuit to keep the school district from paying Markling, but Binette quashed those efforts this week.  
Huron Schools treasurer Mike Weis said the district is mailing a $50,000 check to Markling. The board will then have to approve, or not, the additional $40,000 in expenses, since the district’s insurance company won’t foot the bill.
State education officials have already conducted termination hearings against Fox, but a hearing officer has yet to issue a recommendation to either fire or retain Fox. The board does not have to follow the advice. 
The days of hearings, held at Sawmill Creek, were closed to the public and spaced out over a period of months.  
The hearings addressed 23 alleged wrongdoings on Fox’s part, including three major allegations: Fox had an improper business relationship with a district vendor; he improperly sought reimbursements for a trip to Arizona; and he was involved in an extramarital affair on school time.
This past week, Binette also issued a key ruling in a defamation lawsuit Fox filed against Sowecke.
Fox alleges Sowecke delivered the Markling report to the Ohio Ethics Commission to intentionally make the document a public record, thus defaming the superintendent. In court documents, Sowecke’s attorneys said any material provided to the ethics commission would have been privileged and exempt from public disclosure. As such, Sowecke would be immune from a defamation lawsuit.
While Binette seemed to agree, there are still too many unanswered questions to simply dismiss the case.  
 

Comments

berlinrdgang

Sorry sold... allegedly done.

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Justme-
(Read this)
This past week, Binette also issued a key ruling in a defamation lawsuit Fox filed against Sowecke.

Fox alleges Sowecke delivered the Markling report to the Ohio Ethics Commission to intentionally make the document a public record, thus defaming the superintendent. In court documents, Sowecke’s attorneys said any material provided to the ethics commission would have been privileged and exempt from public disclosure. As such, Sowecke would be immune from a defamation lawsuit.
While Binette seemed to agree, there are still too many unanswered questions to simply dismiss the case.

'While Binette SEEMED TO AGREE'

'In court documents, SOWECKE'S ATTORNEYS said any material provided to the ethics commission would have been privileged and exempt from public disclosure.'

So..
Binnett SEEMED to agree with what Sowecke's ATTORNEYS ALLEDGED.

Once again reading between the lines allows some to assume that this whole situation was not premeditated by Sowecke's delivery of the Markling report.

Fred Fox ALLEDGIDLY did something. ALLEDGIDLY and only according to a completely biased report issued by an attorney who was looking for a $90,000 pay day at the expense of Huron taxpayers.

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And the board paid Markling $40,000 last night.

trackme

SOLD, your on vacation with your your buddy on the school board so why don't you and him just relaxe and enjoy your self or maybe you two have something to hide from the past freddy days. I belive it will all come out shortly

Tsu Dho Nimh

Trackme...now Sold is going to accuse you of being a "stalker"...lol He did me when I suggested the same thing back in August.

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And TDN..
You are a stalker !

Tsu Dho Nimh

LOL...you do have a sense of humor. On a serious note, no one involved is that important.

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You know TrackMe..
I am not Craig Bulea, but he would make an excellent Huron School Board member. He is REALLY a businessman with a lot of knowledge about the school system and he has a head for economics.

***(and can obviously afford to spend free time with the board as he is vacationing in FLA and I am here in the frozen tundra).

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Let's hope it does, Trackme..

Where is it that I am supposed to be on vacation ?
And with whome ?

Tsu Dho Nimh

Anyone who went to Monday's board meeting knows that Mr. Caporini was not in attendance because he is on vacation. He, like many others, believes that you are a good friend, and spouse of a former board member, that often vacations with the Caporinis. But you already knew that :)

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TDN and the rest..
Hahaha.. I'm not on vacation unless you think that retirement is a vacation.

I didn't know that Craig Bulea was also on vacation, but to clarify just another of the fantasies that people print on here: The Buleas and the Caporinis are in the same state, (FLA), but not together.

TDN-
I seem to be able to get information that others are not privy to. Why don't you just listen to what I am telling you instead of sticking with your conspiracy theories.

I gave you key information earlier when I told you all that there was a sampling done of the Huron City School's email accounts. One of your beloved 3 Stooges actually divuldged what happened in executive session to a teacher in the Huron City Schools. This will all be on record soon.

There is also the fact that Fred Fox had no, REQUIRED, evaluations in the last two years. Before that his evaluations are glowing.

If after the referee gives a decision to put Fred Fox back to work and the Huron Board of Education decides not to put Fred Fox back to work there will be another lawsuit.

This mess will continue until the 3 Stooges are no longer the majority and decisions are made in the best interest of the students and employees of the Huron City Schools.

Not one charge made by the Markling report will stick because they are trumped up.

Fred Fox will be back to work after March 11th, 2013 or he will be paid to the end of his contract if he decides he does not want to work for the Huron City Schools.

Fred Fox is a good man whose name has been drug through the mud by these people who are not qualified to run a business, let alone an entire school district.

How about we all wait for March 11th, 2013 and then let's talk.

Tsu Dho Nimh

Is the March 11th date public knowledge? I heard about the "special" date through the Fox headquarters but did not realize that ODE released it to the public. I thought the hearing was private and whatever was said behind closed doors was to stay behind closed doors.

Sit n Spin

"Fred Fox is a good man whose name has been drug through the mud".

I bet his wife does not carry those same sentiments :D

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PS..
Huron taxpayers:
You paid for attorney Marklings legal defense when this board decided to pay him $40,000 at the board meeting.

Let's think about this for a moment. We are paying for the school system's regular lawyers; the 'new' school system attorneys; attorney Markling and now his attorneys.

As Wiredmama has stated here in the past: That's a lot of money that was earmarked for the education of Huron's students.

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Sit N Spinner !
I have missed you.

Fred's wife is ok.. but I'm sure she would be glad that you care.

The funniest part about this whole 'situation' is that if the Markling report was NOT a public document how did you and all of the other nuts get to read it ?

Tsu Dho Nimh

It would not be the first time that the treasurer's office made a mistake with what it released. Mr. Weiss has made a lot of mistakes during this whole mess.

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Ding Ding Ding Ding...
You are correct TDN !

*(We will be talking about him later !)*

Tsu Dho Nimh

Hey, we agree on something. Maybe there is hope for peace in the Middle East...LOL

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hahahah... good one !

Sit n Spin

Awwwww...it's so cute and refreshing to see you two playing nice together ! Shall we all meet at the Main Street Tavern for a cold one to discuss ? That would be a treat !!!! I'll buy !

Tsu Dho Nimh

: )

Sit n Spin

Is that a yes or are you just flirting with me ? Lol !

Huron_1969

I am really thirsty !!!

Tsu Dho Nimh

Me, too! Shall we wait for Sold to come back into town or meet without him? : )

Huron_1969

Hmmm ... looks like a no show, guess I'll go home now

Ps - I put the drinks and dinner on the schools tab

Sit n Spin

I yelled Akooooon Sooooold Fooooox are you here ? I'm buyin ! Three different times and each time some chubby chick in spandex with 2 teeth came a runnin' up to me and said I'll be your Stone Cold Fox ! Sooooo she got 3 beers and I left ! Where were my wingmen ? TDN ? Huron_1969 ? You all left me hangin ! I had my name tag on.

Huron_1969

Sorry... I was busy giving Ms Spandex the eye. (don't tell my wife ok)

Tsu Dho Nimh

I was waiting for my rental car to be delivered but the rental company was late. Mr. Asher, Mr. Caporini, and Mrs. Bulea were all in agreement that the district would cover it. Aren't they nice!

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You guys are fun bunch !
And you know we would have a blast all getting together. I don't think the Huron City Schools would even have to pass a levy if Scott Slocum paid for drinks and dinner...

UgtaBkdnMe

I can't believe this was removed. The other board members names are thrown all over the place and this was offensive? I think not! TDN makes a little joke about the board members covering his rental car costs and someone needs to report it. Get a life!

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