Island police chief gets backup

Lampela refuses to identify police officers who arrested hotel employees after they wouldn't talk with them, but supporters have Facebook campaign
Jul 19, 2014


Island police Chief Ric Lampela continued to dodge questions Friday about officers who arrested three employees of the Put-in-Bay Resort hotel, but his defenders have started their own campaign to rally support for him.

A Facebook page called "Support Put-in-Bay Police Chief Ric Lampela" had 188 'likes' as of this morning. 

There are no comments of support of any nature, however, at the page. It also does not provide any information as to how Lampela's supporters can assist him as criticism of his leadership at the Put-in-Bay Police Department continues to mount. 

Click here to see the page

Lampela has dodged a series of questions on a number of allegations that have arisen in recent weeks.

One allegation is from officials at the Put-in-Bay Resort, who say Lampela has ordered police officers to harass management and staff at the hotel and at certain other island businesses. The say Lampela has targeted the hotel for years after a disagreement years ago with the owners about the village's noise ordinance. 

In September, four police officers investigating the termination of a hotel employee went to the front desk of the hotel and demanded employees explain the termination and immediately issue a paycheck for the fired employee. 

It's not clear why police became involved and Lampela has refused to comment or respond to questions. Two employees were arrested and charged with obstruction after they declined to speak with officers. 

Hotel officials have speculated the terminated employee was the girlfriend of one of the officers. 

"We can talk about it and you get a warning or we can talk about it at the station and you get arrested," the officer told the first employee arrested Sept. 24 before he cuffed her a read her her rights..

The obstruction charge filed against her was eventually dismissed.

A second employee was arrested the same day amid similar circumstances and despite the objection of a hotel attorney who was at the resort that day. 

A third employee also was charged with obstruction a day earlier after she was unable to immediately provide a golf cart rental contract for a cart involved in a parking violation police were investigating. 

Lampela and island Mayor Margaret Scarpelli failed to show up at a court hearing they were ordered to attend earlier this month, and both have refused to comment about the misdemeanor arrests, and why it's taken 10 months for the two remaining cases to wind through the court system. Lampela and Scarpelli also declined to say why they skipped the hearing they were ordered to attend.  

Hotel officials have asked Ottawa County Prosecutor Mark Mulligan to drop the court cases against the other two employees. 

A PIB police officer who made the arrests said the action against the hotel employees was authorized by Mulligan, according to surveillance video from the front desk area of the hotel provided by hotel officials.

But Mulligan has said he's not familiar enough with the case to comment, and he's refused to clarify his involvement back in September when the employees were handcuffed and arrested. 

The surveillance equipment at the hotel was installed to protect the resort and its employees from police harassment, hotel officials said.

Watch the surveillance video: Strange island arrests

Lampela also has come under fire recently after it was determined false information about an alleged rape victim's statements were included in a report of the incident. Police incorrectly said the woman told them she did not want to pursue charges against her alleged assailant.

Read Drugged unconscious

Another island resident and businessman also said he fears he's become a target of the police department for expressing concern about police operations on the island.

Denny Rectenwald, 68, the retired  former Port Clinton Schools superintendent and owner of Harriet's House Guest House and Suites on the island, was handcuffed and detained for 15 minutes after a traffic stop July 11.

"People are starting to say 'enough is enough,'" Rectenwald told the Register after the incident. 

George Wilber, the island's part-time law director, also has refused to return phone calls or comment on the various issues that have arisen about the police department. 

Read: Island police 'out of control'

Read related articles


Note: This article has been modified as to remove information about when the support Lampella Facebook page was started.   



Mulligan's office is prosecuting the case in Municipal Court, yet he claims he doesn't know much about it. That's an admission that he is not supervising his office.

Meanwhile George Wilbur who is also Port Clinton's law director is nowhere to be found as the PIB force racks up civil rights violations.

I hope the woman that had her charge dropped sues PIB and the county prosecutor for false arrest and malicious prosecution as there clearly was no probable cause to arrest or charge her.


On this, you and I agree. This is crazy!


Refuses to identify his own officers???
This is an option?
Good Reporting SR! Keep on this story you've got a good one here OMG!

Stop It

What does "lololololol", mean?

Laugh out loud,out loud,out loud,out loud,out loud?

just plain disgusted

Sounds like they all need to be fired and charged from the mayor on down. Maybe someone will figure out who is drugging tourists and stop harassing business owners.


There has been a FIRE POLICE CHIEF LAMPELA Facebook page since 2010!!

His supporters are SLACKERS!

Read the old comments under the Registers story, this crap has been going on for years!

Julie R.

Just out of curiosity, why do you rant so about this county that's under the leadership of that snake prosecutor Mulligan, yet brag about your "bro-romance" with the Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter, not to mention how you're always right there to defend the corrupt judges in Erie County?


Purely speculating that might he have got a deal from Baxter and Erie County that allowed him to profit from wrongdoing in exchange for helping them put away a threat to their way of life.

Another Day

I am so looking forward to the day very soon to come that Erie County Judges and Magistrates get the piece of action they have been handing out; destroying families and children. THEY ARE CORRUPT AND LAZY! It is coming to an end soon...little birdy out there says there is already a very very high level investigation into the corruption of officials and certain attorneys , and all the agencies tied to this integrated family of corruption. Too bad they have hurt so many by their self righteous attitudes along the way..mostly children and families, and the inaction of the prosecutor to upload federal and state laws, and CPS to NOT investigate neglect and DV is hopefully going to shut these so called public servants down fast. No ethical lawyer wants to practice in this county..wonder better have enough to pay someone off or have a name. I hope it is soon , these people have ruined this county..I myself have NO respect or trust for this court system or any of the attorneys,to clarify Erie County and all divisions! Too bad you took an oath that you cannot uphold because it is too much work for you.

Julie R.



This article provides no new pieces of information other then a couple of FB pages. Is that really news SR?


Wrong, they updated and added new information, not like your TROLL post which said nothing and serves no one. Most here want to know what the cops and government does to keep their families safe from uncontrolled abuse such as whats been witnessed on but then theres people such as yourself, yep, we will have to put up with you since the Register won't abuse their power and ban you as most of us wish they would.

Makes me wonder if you were the typical bully on the playground, or a cop or related to one of those on PnB, its obvious you have an agenda and a defense for those involved and could care less about whats right, wrong and just. Doesn't paint a good picture about you at all.

Peninsula Pundit

Too true, truth.
Brand new poster out of the blue showing up defending bad police behavior.
We see this on every story about the abuse of police power and they always defend the bad actors.
This guy should drop the 'r' in his monicker in the interests of honesty.


So please describe to me what was new? I just see a rehash of the last dozen articles. I would like the register to ask tough questions to both police and the people making claims. I would have liked to know that in the drugging cases was a toxicology report completed and if so what drugs were used? If no toxicology report was done why not? I would like to know why the police or mayor do not comment? (that's not the SR fault) It sure makes things look fishy when they don't comment. It makes it seem like someone has something to hide. I am all for finding the truth and want to clean up things at the Bay. I see way to many things happen. I am no bully, no thug, in fact I would be considered a respectable member of society just like the person who may have been a victim of police overstep. It is interesting how quickly you want to shut down anyone who disagrees with you and honestly I do not disagree with you. I just want new facts and new stories. Truth you sound like a bully when you want to ban people from discussion boards.

I am not saying the SR shouldn't report these topics, they should, because a free press is so important to our country that our founders guaranteed it in the constitution. I am merely questioning the SR on what does this add new to the stories?

I just want to see new things added to stories not a piece that there is some facebook group that wants to support/fire the police chief that have been around since 2010 at least. I do not find that news.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks OttawaCountyFriend for the thoughtful comments. This article was developed as an update that Chief Lampela continues to refuse to identify the officers in the video released by hotel security. It was also developed under the incorrect assumption the Facebook page support group was new, which was later corrected to reflect it was actually created in 2010. Social media has become an important factor for news stories and developing news in recent years. This article was also developed to bring the various problematic encounters with police together and reiterate that Lampela, Mulligan and island officials continue to dodge questions raised in recent weeks on a variety of issues. Hope that helps.  


Thank you Matt for a response. I agree questions need to be answered and people need to held accountable.


Look at this comment from September 15, 2010, in the comment section of the Register!

 somebody on the facebook page first please understand that you know nothing and will never know when all you do is work at Ed's and get hammered and sell "special" drinks to unsuspecting females and probably reap the benefits later. Please first learn the PROCEDURE of things and then see where things go from there.

I have said I heard rumors about drinks being drugged for the last three or four years. Then it happened to a friend, who was positively tested at Firelands, so I believed.

I hope the alleged rape victim sees this and her lawyer does his homework.


Maybe PnB mayor will convience council to buy one of these, after all, its such a dangerous place, they even need four or five cops to arrest a 110 pound desk clerk !! With this they can bust down the doors if their locked, run over golf carts.

Last week a couple from Pittsburg was at Pelicans in Huron, Our entire table warned them about going to PnB because of the cops, They instead ended up going to Kellys. It will catch up with them over there.

Peninsula Pundit

I now warn visitors and not recommend Putin Bay as well, truth, but started doing so when these stories about drugged drinks started showing up.
The police there don't seem to have any interest in getting to the bottom of that problem at all, but want to beat up retirees and students instead.Since the people affected from these adulterated drinks are from all over the state and it is bringing a bad name to the god of tourism in this area, I'm surprised that other law enforcement agencies aren't taking a more active part in investigating this.
I cannot understand why the judge who has this case just doesn't dismiss the case. If the cop doesn't show up when you fight a speeding ticket, case dismissed, right?
What judge is in on this and what's his/her story?

The governed

Kelley's isn't any safer.

Peninsula Pundit

Continued congrats to the Register for carrying these stories.
The Pig City Nude Harold hasn't breathed a word about any of these happenings, even though Rectenwald was well-respected during his tenure there at their schools.
They should just fold up that 75 cent two-bit rag.
It really went downhill when they changed their comments section,BTW.

Ralph J.

Help me out people. I went to the Ottawa County Board of Elections to find out how many people are registered to vote in Put-in-Bay village. It seems that the OC Board of elections is holding back on precinct information and the archives go back to only 2010. I checked the population of both the village and PIB township and came up with figures. Taking into account children under 18, it appears that there were more voters in the village than were eligible to vote. Please note the PIB village council votes of 131 total votes cast.


The village council race allows a voter to vote for two people, so you can't add the votes together for the two candidates to get a total vote count. Some people voted for both candidates while others choose to vote for only one or none. The Mayor's race is more reflective of the total number of voters at 99 total votes and that total is under the total number of residents over 18 years of age in the village.


the police were not wearing masks. somebody on the island should know who they are..


Maybe Lampella should put his badge back into the cracker jack box.


Ordered to attend hearing and NO SHOW? This is when the cuffs should come out and "book em' Dan-O !


You're right. That begs the question why the Municipal Judge in Ottawa County ignores willful disobedience of a court order, i.e. direct contempt of court by the Mayor of PIB and the PIB police chief. It couldn't be the cash that PIB generates for the court?

This is direct evidence of favoritism by the Judge of the State and PIB in particular. His actions or lack of action indicates prejudice to the Defendants and that they are not receiving a fair trial in that court. The Judge should have thrown these cases out many months ago for no probable cause and certainly after the failure to appear occurred for failure to prosecute.

There's also a family connection between the Ottawa County Municipal Court that may explain the history of ignoring misconduct by LEO's. The clerk of court Rebecca Szilagyi is the wife of Bruce Szilagyi, the police officer who beat Craig Burdine in the Ottawa County jail. It may explain why the Court ignores LEO misconduct.

Julie R.

Wow .... the clerk of court is the wife of the police officer who beat Craig Burdine in the Ottawa County jail? This keeps getting deeper and deeper.


is PutnBay in Erie County--sure seems like it with the corruption.