UPDATE: State referee says Fred Fox should be reinstated with full pay

Read the referee's report here from a state department of education hearing officer who delivered a 53-page report this morning that appears to exonerate fired Huron Schools superintendent Fred Fox.
Alissa Widman Neese
Mar 11, 2013


Click here to read the referee's report.

The Huron school board wrongfully fired superintendent Fred Fox, according to an Ohio Department of Education hearing officer.

Board members received a report Monday recommending they reinstate Fox with full back pay, a move that could cost the district $100,000 or more if approved.

School officials refused to release the report, contending it was not a public record, but Fox's attorney, Patrick Murray, provided the Register a copy.

In the 53-page report, state hearing officer Harry Taich said the school board failed to provide "substantial, reliable and probative evidence" to terminate Fox last year.

"In my opinion, after hearing all of the testimony in this matter, it was quite apparent to this referee that personal feelings appeared to replace sound judgment," Taich stated in the report.

In June, the board voted 3-2 to fire Fox for his alleged misdeeds, including an improper business relationship with a district vendor, improperly seeking reimbursements for a trip to Arizona and an extramarital affair on school time.

The board contended the behavior was detrimental to Huron Schools, but Taich said this wasn't the case.

"The district failed to establish by credible evidence that Mr. Fox's inappropriate relationship with the other school district principal hampered his effectiveness as a superintendent," the report stated. "On the contrary, the overwhelming evidence did establish that the district has thrived under his leadership."

The board is expected to take action on Fox's termination at its monthly meeting next week. An executive session to review the state's recommendation is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, with no action planned until the regular board meeting three days later.

Board members Kevin Asher and John Caporini, who voted against Fox's firing, said at last month's meeting they would vote in favor of the state's recommendation — no matter what it said.

After reading Taich's report, Asher said he hopes the entire board will do the same and "move on." He encouraged community members to attend Tuesday's meeting to voice their opinions on the matter.

"We have budget issues, negotiations with our classified staff union and more important things to be worrying about than this nonsense," Asher said. "This has taken a year away from us doing the job we were elected to do. We need to get back to the business of this school."

Board president Scott Slocum and board member Tim Sowecke did not return calls seeking comment Monday.

Register reporter Jessica Cuffman contributed to this story.


Want to go?

What: Huron school board meeting

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 19

Where: Shawnee Elementary School cafeteria


Fox timeline

•February 2012 — Board meets with attorney Matt Markling to discuss allegations made against superintendent Fred Fox, including an improper business relationship with a district vendor, improperly sought reimbursements for a trip to Arizona and an extramarital affair on school time.

•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 — Board member Kevin Asher files lawsuit to keep board from paying Markling bill.

•Sept. 6 — Fox's attorney, Patrick Murray, answers 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.

•January 2013 — Fox's closed-door termination hearings end.

•Feb. 13 — Asher's lawsuit is dismissed.

•Feb. 18 — Board approves paying full amount of $90,000 Markling bill.

•March 11 — Ohio Department of Education's hearing officer recommends reinstating Fox with full back pay.


Click here for the ePaper or buy a Register at a newsstand near you to learn what's next for Fred Fox and the Huron school board. Check back here at sanduskyregister.com for updates as they become available. 


Still Sold

You should have said hello.

All of the screen names you mentioned have one thing in common: In support of Fred Fox.

This is the only me. I had a hard enough time getting back on here as me after I posted the Journal's article. This is actually the 4th, or 5th time I have been deleted here.. lol

2700+ pages of testimony. And.. Much of the testimony is by the same people that Markling questioned. The referree even cites these people for having the 'courage' to testify. Did you notice that principal Von Throne was one of those that testified ? As scathed as she was painted to be by Markling and posters on here and then she comes to the defense of Fred Fox ?

The fact is that Fred Fox works for the Huron City Schools. Like it, or not.

If I were Fred Fox I would ask for my entire pay for my entire career plus benefits.

And I still want to know:

1) When is Markling going to pay the $90,000 back ?
2) When is Donna Hastings/Green going to pay for the sign ?
3) When is Retiree going to figure out that Toolgate is ova.. The bus is gone.. and Ticket Gate, etc.. has nothing to do with Fred Fox, but I'll bet he gets to the bottom of it when he's back to work.
4) When are the 3 Stooges stepping down ?

This inquiring mind wants to know !

Sit n Spin

Next time I see you I promise to say hello and we can have a good laugh about all this.....it's been enlightening and entertaining to say the least ! Spin out !!!


2700+ pages of testimony and we've only seen his summary, which includes some far out statements. I would love to see the entire thing. Too bad the hearing was closed.


No Mark not at the three board members. Only one guy miss used taxpayers money


Retiree knows everything about the busgate, ticketgate, toolgate, windowgate, the affair, the sheriff's report. If you think Freeeedy has nothing to do with the above,you must think Cotton is a monkey.


Wish I had a watermellon ..... loved that tv show


Well by all means post the evidence! By that I mean actual evidence not unsubstantiated rumor, opinions, innuendo, etc. But actual substantiated evidence.

Darwin's choice

There's none. A bunch of whiny employee's, who had to toe the line, figure the court of public opinion is better than any other, throw crap out there to justify their own shortcomings. Then, the haters foam at the mouth......

Julie R.

Geez, oh pete! Almost eleven pages of comments?

Julie R.

What's the big deal about this toolgate, anyway? Some of you people act like the tools were personally stolen from you or something. At least give the crooks credit for one thing --- they put the tools back where they belonged, didn't they? That's more than the crooks from Huron did that fraudulently transferred property!


You know that I can not disclose names on the blogs, that have not been disclosed all ready. I tried and inappropriate alert came up. I will tell you one thing, when two of the parties were discussing the matter, the one person said to the other,"if Iam going down your going with me __ __".


Do you have proof of that quote? An email or audiotape, perhaps? Or are you just spreading gossip like an old hen?

Darwin's choice

Was that a certain sports coach?

good old boy

yes, the football coach....hes behind all of this. what a joke this town is becoming.

Julie R.

Huron, Ohio must have a lot of dirty little secrets.


There is no sense in discussing anything more with certain people on this blog. They had their own monetary agenda with the school, Fox , and the corruption that has taken place. Everyone on this blog all ready made their decision. With the exposure of everything coming full circle soon,time will eventually tell.

Sit n Spin

Some people sure have gotten quiet after their cover was blown :) Don't worry my lips are sealed ;) What happens in Blog World stays in Blog World.


SIT N SPIN. You think you know everything about everyone. Guess What? You don't have a clue.


Well it's nice to know that you do !

Sit n Spin

Guess what ? I know enough & I know who you are. Does that bother you ? One glaring difference between you and I (and most Huron townies) is that I know how to keep my mouth shut. There is usually a fly on every wall, remember that buddy. You my friend have diarrhea of the mouth on here & in public. Don't be so smug & I will introduce myself the next time we cross paths. Which blog name would you like me to address you as or should I just say hello Mr.------- :D


Let the names of Sowecke,Slocum,Green and Sit n Spin be stricken from every book and tablet. Stricken from every pylon and obelisk of Huron. Let the names Sowecke,Slocum,Green and Sit n Spin be unheard and unspoken, erased from the memory of man, for all time.
Let it be written,let it be done.

Sit n Spin

Just burn me in effigy, that's good enough for me ! Hahaha !

Tsu Dho Nimh

The board of education will be going into executive session in less than an hour to discuss what should be done with Superintendent Fox. Wonder how long it will take StillSoldOnNobodyfromNowhere to use his bip bip bip BooBeeDoo doo powers to find out what they intend to do with the HHGuy ? The treasurer doesn’t need to be part of this discussion so he’ll have to depend on the Casherinis !


TDN If one looks at this situation objectively and especially from a fiduciary standpoint, it would be wise to not terminate Fred. The school board and Huronites will be facing future lawsuits that are winnable. If you think 90K is a lot then you are sadly mistaken. In my opinion this was a personal vendetta that has backfired. Whereas, innocent people who have nothing to do with this have been effected. The board should listen to the people of Huron and recall him back to the position of superintendent.

Tsu Dho Nimh

What should they do if the people of Huron speak out that he should still be terminated, then what?

BW1's picture

They can always buy out his contract. "The people" don't always get what they want - we are a nation of laws.


It would be worth buying him out. Adios and don't let the door smack you in the butt on the way out !


Years ago in a meeting with Fred Fox, he showed me a graph of legal costs per year for the school distict. It showed a dramatic rising trend since he took the helm. Mr. Fox's track record for litigating leads me to believe he should not be leading.

BW1's picture

That depends on WHAT was being litigated, and WHO initiated the litigation.

If there's a problem, it resides in the board, because he is subordinate to them. A board member was out knocking on doors last summer campaigning for the library levy. He couldn't tell me how many mills it was, whether it was permanent, or fixed term, and if the latter, whether it was new or a replacement.


Listen to the vocal minority that have no control over there own actions. Yell and scream because you did not get your own way. Threaten people, tell people to boycott businesses, throw more and more mud against a wall and hope something sticks. Keep twisting the story to try and degrade someone. Bring up things that happened twenty years ago that has nothing to do with the current agenda. We all know who you are. It's the same people everytime. Rant and rave because you did get your own way. The silent majority will be there and support the people that they elected. There are five people that will make a decision and in America the majority wins. Don't try and change our Constitution. Don't think you are better than anyone. You come in this world bare a_ _ naked and leave with clothes on your back. What you do between that peroid is how are your judged.


Does the name rhyme with "annoy"? LOL

Julie R.

Toolgate, busgate, ticketgate, signgate, affairsgate, crimes against the elderly, forged power of attorneys, forged wills, theft of their properties, etc., etc., etc. Lord Almighty, like the Eeerie County courthouse, I'm surprised the roof of the Huron Catholic church doesn't fall in when some of those hypocrites go walking through the door!


Eastside, I'll tell you why the legal fees since Fox has been superintendent are so high. Because he has violated the teachers' contract on numerous occasions, they have filed grievances, and most of the time have won them.

Julie R.

So who at the school had the authority to sign off on the title to a Huron school bus that was sold for a measly $1 and who has the title to the bus? Stands to reason, the person who OBTAINED the bus would have the title.

On the other hand, when the Erie County common pleas court forced property in Huron that was fraudulently transferred seven months before the 1st owner's death to be sold at a sheriff sale, the realtor that OBTAINED it claimed he was never given the title to the property. He claimed all he was given was a sheriff sale deed. Considering how sheriff sale deeds are only given out on property sold through foreclosure ~ and THAT property sure wasn't sold through foreclosure ~ one might have to wonder why a realtor of all people would not have questioned the Erie County common pleas court and the sheriff's department about that.

Julie R.

Personally, I could care less about some stupid old Huron school bus. Neither do I care about tools stolen at the Huron bus garage. Once again, at least the stolen tools were put back where they belonged.

On the flip side of the coin, I'm still waiting for those two Bonnie & Clyde idiots from Huron, Ohio and those two Bonnie & Clyde judges at the Erie County courthouse to put that fraudulently transferred Huron property back into the correct owner's probate estate!