'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

UgtaBkdnMe

Hey Fred, who is "they"? Nobody knows me.

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Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

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Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights) and Personal information.

UgtaBkdnMe

Poor, poor pathetic Fred!

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Listen Kidding Me-
This is not Craig, Chris, Fred.. etc..
On and on. You probably know me, but you are not going to find out on here. It is not neccesary for you to know me. I am not the target of your anger, nor are you the target of mine.

This whole situation is causing neighbors to argue amongst themselves.

I am going to stop right now and wait for March 11th, 2013.

I truly didn't mean to hurt your feelings.

Tsu Dho Nimh

WOW!!! I have to tell you, Sold, I have enjoyed bantering with you and reading your comments even if I disagree with 99% of the time. But I must say, you have hit an all time low. I read carefully through the posts of the last two days and you have been trying to make sure Ugta knows that you have connections. There is no doubt that you do. What amazes me is that you think that we cannot figure out where is comes from. The email to the treasurer suggests one possibilty. If my assumption is wrong, then the other possibility is that you are "hacking" the district email. Either way, both possibilities would have an illegal element. You keep talking about the "false" Markling report. I cannot help but compare what was recorded time and time again in that report to what you are doing: Fred Fox spent much of his time during his last 2 years spying on people and using his position to intimidate people. Why you would care that someone inquired about the deputy superintendent's pay is beyond me. I have no intentions of answering your posts again. I thought we were a couple of people having fun on this blog but apparently I was wrong about you!

UgtaBkdnMe

Thank you for seeing what is going on. I, too, have no idea why Sold would feel the need to find the identity of my friend. It's rather scary isn't it. There is no doubt that a private citizens name was released but of course the accused party denies it in his email that I posted. Excellent point that the other viable option is the hacking of the email. And your last point that Sold is acting like Fox is described in the Markling report is great. Thanks again, buddy !

Tsu Dho Nimh

No problem, pal. I am sorry that your friend was a victim in this whole mess. Like I told Sold, I thought we were just people having fun on a blog. I had no idea that he was a secret agent man. There is no reason for him to want to know who your friend is other than to let people know that he is Big Brother. Very disturbing. I hope your friend finds some satisfaction with the board. Good luck to whoever he is!

Justme...

TDN, your comment about the Markling report...Spot on. The true colors of these folks is on full display. Thanks Sold.

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TDN-
I was attempting to get 'the person' who did the records request to admit that Fernbaugh was being paid even more than what I stated. If you read the posts as carefully as you say you would know I didn't know it was UGottaBeKdgMe.. He showed himself.

Whatever.. No facts.. Nothing is going to get through to you acorns.

Hahaha... I only wish I was a hacker.. lol

Sit n Spin

Y'all need to start your own reality show...."Blogger's Gone Wild"....Sweet Jesus people !

TaxRaider

Sit n Spin ..... I love it Blogger's Gone Wild

Dudley Do-Right

Sold ... I have read your blogs for several months now, you talked about meeting folks down at the docks, etc, because you are not afraid of who you are ... well who you are is the Wizard of Blogs, all puffed up behind your computer screen. I think you meant it when you said the only way anyone can get to you is through your girlfriend, she comes before your wife. You are the Wizard of Blogs and this time the fox grabbed some sour grapes.

TaxRaider

Dudley Do-Right .... Wizard of Blogs, how true, just like the Wizard of Oz hiding behind the curtain in Emerald City .... a frail scared man.

UgtaBkdnMe

A frail scared man is right !

UgtaBkdnMe

And in the name of the Freddy Fox Guild, we wish to welcome you to nonsense land.

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Sold you're the Wizard of Blogs..
Sold you are scary..
Sold you shot Kennedy..

Get real.
If you are carefully following this as you seem to think you are, you would know that I specifically spoke in code about the acorn who was requesting info so they would know that I knew that they knew that the figure that Fernbaugh makes each day is about $682.

Nothing more 'sinister' than that.

But.. As usual, make it sound however you want.

I am sorry that I am so intimidating.. lol

Sit N Spin.. You intimidated ?

And once again.. As I was talking in 'code' no one would have known what I was talking about except the person who ended up making a big deal of it.

Sorry acorns.

I will tell you exactly who I am as soon as the rest of you 'frail scared acorns' line up and name yourselves.

Huron_1969

Please state who you want to identify themselves that will in turn lead to you identifying yourself. Be specific.

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On March 12th, 2013 I will be back to say, "I told you so".

I want to thank Sit N Spin; Tmm; and Huron_1969.. you and I may not be on the same side in this 'situation', but at least you're fun to banter with.

And Wiredmama.. Whatever you do.. Don't move to Huron until this is over.

Sit n Spin

Sold...I'm not easily intimidated, especially by keyboard vigilante's :) I stood right next to you a couple months ago...you are a smart cookie...think about it...I didnt look like I was light in the loafers did I ? The offer still stands for that brew...or at F dock this summer !

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Spinner..
I'm not getting the 'code' but am pretty sure you're not light in the loafers.
It would be a pleasure to meet you.
(haha... Apparently I already know you)

TaxRaider

BINGO. I got it. B-bully, you bully with your title, you bully with email and now you bully with blogs. I-inside information, you are special with your inside information but not smart enough to keep your mouth shut. N-nothing to do, you have nothing to do since you are unemployed. G-got one on the side, girlfriend that is. O-obsessed, you are obsessed with this. BINGO it is clear who you are, you may not be a sly fox but you are still a critter.

Tsu Dho Nimh

There is a man who lost his job and Bingo was his name-O...lol

Sit n Spin

Where did everyone go ? Wiredmama & I decided to call it quits, it was an amicable split so it's all good in spin's hood. Come back ! I miss y'all !

Huron_1969

Sorry to hear about you and Wired. Maybe a lengthy letter seeking advice from Dear Edna will help you get through your heartbreak. Lol

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hahaaha..

Tsu Dho Nimh

Your split with Mama is probably for the best. On a serious note, I don't think we are going to hear anymore from Sold on ME now that his true colors have been exposed in black and white. His tactics are just down right desperate and disturbing. As far as I'm concerned, when it comes to having a discussion with him... ain' nobody got time for that (LOL).

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True colors in black and white ? What are you talking about ?

I told you.. Talk to you after March 12th.

Sit n Spin

Dear Edna,
I didnt have my shoes or nothing... Lord Jesus I just ran for my life ! I thought somebody was havin a BBQ but it was fier !

Tsu Dho Nimh

: )

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