VIDEO: Operation fix police

Put-in-Bay Village Council plans deeper look at police department; critics fear whitewash
Sandusky Register Staff
Aug 1, 2014

Village Council plans to contract an operations assessment of the Put-in-Bay police department, Mayor Margaret Scarpelli said Thursday during a public forum with the police chief.

The decision comes following recent allegations of police harassment from three island business owners.

It also comes as police Chief Ric Lampela and his staff downplayed 15 recent complaints filed with police of suspected druggings on the island. 

Watch forum in video player below


"I've heard concerns about the police department," Scarpelli said. "I've lived here all my life. I have great love for this island. So I've talked with Council and we are going to ask (the village law director) to hire a firm to come and do an assessment of the police department and its operations."

Lampela said he was pleased with the decision to ask part-time law director George Wilber to arrange for a professional assessment of the police department.

"When the mayor told me, I could not have been more thrilled," Lampela said. "I can't wait to find out if there can be any improvements, and how we can better serve the community."

But Lampela's critics aren't so happy.

Dennis Rectenwald, owner of Harriet's House Guest House and Suites on the island, and Put-in-Bay Resort owner Mark Mathys questioned whether Wilber would arrange for a legitimate assessment.

Wilber has refused comment and has not responded to complaints from Mathys about alleged ongoing police harassment of the hotel and its employees. 

Wilber also has dodged questions from the Register for months, and he generally refuses to provide public comment on public issues.  

Rectenwald, who was handcuffed and detained by PIB police officers for about 15 minutes July 14 after a traffic violation, questioned whether the operations assessment would be legitimate. 

"Who's going to select this panel to do the research on the department? An independent group?" Rectenwald asked. "Or is it going to be the mayor and the chief?"

Scarpelli responded Wilber would do that work.

Mathys, who contends police made three false arrests of hotel employees in September, also questioned Wilber's involvement and whether a study and the expected expense of it would result in any useful information. 

"The Attorney General, the FBI and the Ottawa County sheriff's office would do this for free," Mathys said. "Wouldn't it make sense asking them (to investigate) instead of appropriating $15,000?"

Scarpelli said those options would be considered. She also said the projected $15,000 cost is a starting point for the village.

Another man who attended the forum chimed in, suggesting any assessment will likely be a whitewash.

"What if they find criminal wrongdoing?" he asked. "Do they have the authority, or do they pat everyone on the back and let them go?"


Lampela said the police department was taking a pro-active approach to create awareness how visitors can protect themselves from becoming a victim of a drugging, but he emphasized that none of the complaints have been confirmed. 

One alleged victim did test positive for a suspected drug that might have been slipped into her drink and caused her to become violently ill and pass out. 

Put-in-Bay police Sgt. Steve Korossy said the Benzodiazepine found in the woman's system was not a date rape drug, however, and he used his fingers to denote quotation marks as he called the complaints "alleged druggings."

The woman, however, did not allege she was raped; she suspected she was drugged.

Another drugging reported

Benzodiazepine is a psychoactive drug used to treat anxiety, insomnia, agitation, seizures and alcohol withdrawal. The woman did not knowingly ingest the drug, according to a police report. 

Another woman did report she was raped May 4 after becoming unconscious. She also told a hospital trauma nurse she suspected she'd been drugged. The Ottawa County sheriff's office finished an investigation of that complaint, which has been forwarded to Ottawa County Prosecutor Mark Mulligan.

Put-in-Bay police inserted false information into the original incident report of the alleged rape, stating the woman did not want to pursue charges. 

Mulligan gets 'roofie' rape report

Five other people reported to police they suspected they were drugged after each of them became unconscious during a visit to the island the same weekend earlier this month.

The alleged rape victim, and most of the other alleged victims were not tested for drugs in their systems. 

"The drugs leave the system very quickly," Lampela said during Thursday's forum.

While acknowledging the concern created by the complaints from tourists, Lampela said none of the reports of suspected druggings have been verified.

"We know there have been complaints of druggings and we know they are getting more frequent in the last couple days and none of them have been proven to be a drugging." 

It's not clear how that statement is accurate given that one alleged victim did test positive for a drug she did not knowingly ingest.

Lampela does not take questions from the Register during forums, and he generally does not provide responsive replies to telephone calls or written inquiries.

One man at the forum suggested the drugging complaints made to police were being overblown. 

"The paper just wants to sell papers, there's worse stuff going on," he said. "You can read the Sandusky Register and it's going to be totally differnt than what you said today." 

The forum was videotaped by the Register and everything Lampella and Scarpelli said, and all the questions from people who attended, are available for demand viewing in the frames below. 


Lampela continued to dodge questions from Mathys during the forum about the September arrests of three hotel employees. 

"What case are you talking about?" the chief responded initially when Mathys again asked him to explain the alleged misconduct of his officers during the arrests.

"The one that's been in the newspaper," Mathys told him. "The one I brought up here at the meeting last week."

After acknowledging awareness of the case, Lampela said he'd 'love to comment' but can't because the case is still being adjudicated. 

The case Mathys asked about was dismissed, however, and is not still being adjudicated.

Mathys said Wilber previously instructed Council members and the mayor not to review the audio surveillance from the hotel of the arrests. He again invited village officials to view the video, which he contends clearly shows police misconduct in arresting the employees while they were working at the hotel's front desk.  

All three employees were charged with obstruction, and the video does clearly suggest that no criminal violations occurred prior to the arrests. 

Lampela has refused to respond to questions from the Register about the investigations — apparently launched by Korossy — into a parking violation and a civil dispute the hotel had with two former employees that led to the arrests.

The charge against one employee was dismissed, but the other two are awaiting trial in Ottawa County Municipal Court.   

Scarpelli and Lampela skipped a court hearing they were not excused from regarding one of the cases earlier this month. Neither the mayor nor the chief have provided any explanation why they failed to attend, and Wilber also has refused to comment on the no-shows. 

The hotel wants Mulligan, the county prosecutor, to get the remaining charges dismissed.

Mulligan, who allegedly consulted with police just prior to the arrests, has refused to comment and has said he is unfamiliar with the pending cases. 

Video: Strange Island arrests

Read related news articles: Drugged unconscious


Original post, July 31, 2014

Put-in-Bay police chief Ric Lampela has re-instated the weekly meetings for island residents to voice their concerns. 

He said a meeting used to be held weekly for islanders to voice concerns but people stopped attending.

Lampela said he held last Thursday's meeting due to growing complaints in the community, and will resume doing so.

"This is an island event. Islanders can come to me, share compliments or complaints and what they're seeing, so I can fix problems with the department," Lampela said.

Click HERE for the full story of last week's meeting

Watch two parts of the meeting in the player below



Hey sandusky register. If you are going to have a live video update your equipment. It doesn't work! Just like every other LIVE video it cuts out every 10 seconds.


Hey arcman, mine never cut out at all. I ran it through my iPad to AppleTv.

Maybe you need to update YOUR equipment.

Besides, it was free, so why be so nasty?

MediaMan's picture

go to this link and type in this report number 14-013228


Ha ha ha the people got buffaloed again notice how the mayor and rainbow squad refused to answer the real issues those people living over there deserve everything the are getting stupid is as stupid does


Rainbow squad?? A little homophobic are you!!!


Not really, it's well known, he on a regular basis has his tryst's with the west shore boys late night. Scrapper probably watching and keeping things moving along


Don't worry goofy be sure the outside is looking in! Details soon!


1st, Kudos to S.R. for doing what they said they would do, report more on PnB. Second I agree with you Digger, the Mayor and Chief did nothing to answer the questions on the real issues . And I think there were only two participants that had the nerve to ask the real questions concerning the reported corruption or abuse of the Mayor, Prosecutor and Police.
BTW, the cop in the middle looks like Shane, the crooked and arrogant cop in the Walking Dead. Hmmm. just thinking to myself right now..


Who asked the first question? He seemed to be the only one who asked the correct questions, which of course the panel never answered, its like a broken record with this Islands government and police.

Did anyone ask about why the Chief arrested the desk clerk in the Hotel? How about demanding one of the cops girl friends to be paid immediately?


I don't think this clown that is Chief of Police is capable of fixing any problem in his department. Seriously doubt the Mayor is any smarter from the performance she had shown to date.

Julie R.

That chief Ric Lampela looks like a shifty little crook. Reminds me of somebody else right here in Erie County but I won't mention any names.

That said, if Put-in-Bay is as bad as the Register and all the rest of you on here are making it out to be, why are people still going over there to party?


One of the island residents asked why the police does nothing about drug complaints and why they allow people to just walk away. The Chief assured everyone that they take all crime seriously. A resident called the PIB PoPo at 1:55AM and informed them of a passed out individual slumped over a golf cart steering wheel at the St Pauls Church. 5 Minutes later, a cruiser showed up, officers got out and interrogated the individual, and then informed him that he was free to go with no penalty, even though he was DRUNK AND PASSED OUT when they showed up. Why should any island resident call the police if they do not care about the problem? EVEN AFTER a meeting where they claimed that they had ZERO TOLERANCE???? Check it out on video if you do not believe me, the "Chief" claimed that they now have ZERO TOLERANCE for crime on the island. This guy, at 2am, was allowed to just walk away, drunk. Hey Chief, great job, let's let the drunks park at the church and give our community the finger!


In the video, the chief says "ZERO TOLERANCE ON DRUGS", then turns to his boys and says, "isn't that what I told you guys? Zero tolerance on drugs, right?"

Than why wasn't this lady charged with drugs or paraphernalia? The report written by PIB less than a week ago says, "I gave her a warning and she was thankful".

This was just one untruth that was told last night.

sandtown born a...

so did he turn to the good ol boys and ask while winking?


Anyone who knows how villages governments "do business" will know that when bullsh*t is going on in a village= their law director plays the CRUCIAL role. In order for a village govt entity to "get away with" anything their law director has to both look the other way AND lead them thru the jungle of our laws & judicial system= enabling them to do EXACTLY what they want to do!
To put it another way:
Village mayors and especially council members do NOT know enough about laws/legalities to "run" a village without legal direction from a professional.
So, when you see a mayor AND a village council as a whole allowing AND enabling (and legally "getting away with") crap such as this situation=
Who's REALLY behind these antics???
Obviously it's the police chief and his officers who are breaking laws (essentially) however, it's the mayor/council members VIA THEIR LAW DIRECTOR'S "Directions on Breaking the Law Successfully" who have enabled this to go on and who are obviously going to allow it to CONTINUE! Don't be fooled here folks!
"Conducting an investigation of themselves" is the oldest trick in the book!!!!
And a mayor whos "lived on the island all her life" asking their law director who has to be as crooked as the day is long to hire someone (*cough* FRIEND) with the chief being "thrilled" IS JUST THIS! A SCAM!
The longer this goes on (and the stupider it gets omg lol) it just seems like in the end a LOT of people will end up losing their positions?!? At the same time tho- the mayor HAS lived there all her life and she's obviously a professional at what she doesn't do --she knows how maintain the status quo (and get away with it) so I dont see any hope at all in this situation.

Want to get to the bottom of whos REALLY been "running" this island?
Who helps write the village ordinances? Who determines what the laws are and how they're enforced? Who directs EVERYONE IN THE VILLAGE when it comes to their laws???
The Village Law Director! He's the man behind the curtain- the Great Oz....this is true in all towns.
Want to change Put In Bay for REAL?? CHANGE THE LAW DIRECTOR!
The "trickle-down" will be AMAZING :-)


I agree with everything you stated and add that PIB solicitor George Wilbur works with the county prosecutor to protect the status quo. He also "serves" as law director for the City of Port Clinton which is where the Ottawa County Municipal Court is located and hears all arrests on criminal cases from PIB.

If my memory serves me correctly, George Wilbur comes from a multi generational family of lawyers and an ancestor of his was allegedly involved in public corruption in the last major federal probe of the county. I do know from personal experience that he was critical to protecting alleged corrupt activity in Port Clinton involving a public contract with the now defunct Island Express Boat lines.

George Wilbur will never hire someone competent but will pass this to a crony. This situation is the opposite of the Nuesse investigation wherein cronies were hired to create a mountain out of a mole hill in Sandusky by the City law director and his pals to get the Police Chief who was asking too many questions while PIB will ignore and hire cronies to obstruct an investigation of police that is merited and long overdue because they are all in bed together, literally and figuratively from what I hear.


Just another snow job by PT Barnum behind a badge. The only hope for change is an independent outside investigation. Let's just hope this happens before someone dies AGAIN.


Looks like you got your work cut out for you with council as they will not question Wilbur's authority or advice who we agreed is a large part of the problem.

The governed

Mulligan and Wilbur both need to go. They have been the undeniable, longstanding problem with our local government.

At what point do we or the Feds start looking at them for their criminal neglect and patterns of corruption... Won't be hard to prove.


The officer who said the reason for not arrested felony drug offenders is because of the 30 day right to a speedy trial, needs to go back to school, he was totally wrong about that. The subject has a right to initial appearance within 48 hrs ( I think) and then can be released on bond, at which time the speedy trial is 270 days.

The governed

If the ottawa county or erie county sheriff caught me with coccaine I would be taken to jail. Even on Kelley's I would be put on the ferry and taken to jail.


Not true in both counties if you are pals with the prosecutors.

Dispute Lite

Only if the defendant 'waives time', meaning they waive their right to a speedy trial, can the case be set out further on the docket. The officer was correct when he said that it takes time to get drug results from BCI. If a defendant did not waive the speedy trial, there wouldn't be enough time to get a grand jury indictment (for a felony) and then hold the trial. That being said, it is only a very very small percentage of defendants who do not waive time and if they are given a public defender that attorney will usually waive time so they can work out a plea deal. I'll give them credit for that answer, but they lose that credit because they are just shifting blame for their own inaction on these cases.


If they waive their right to a speedy trial there is no time limit, however otherwise it is 270 days. I would think 270 days would be plenty of time. I don't think it is common anywhere to allow someone with felony amounts of drugs to go free, waiting for drug analysis to come back. A grand jury decides probable cause which should be established by the officer on scene. An arrest can be made and if needed they could be released on the own recognizance at the preliminary hearing. The reasoning they used is not valid.


An arrest and complaint for a felony is filed in Ottawa County Municipal Court. The defendant must appear before a magistrate at the earliest opportunity usually within 48-72 hours of arrest and have bond set. At that initial appearance the defendant can request a preliminary hearing to determine probable cause and or waive bind over to the Grand Jury and Common Pleas Court. The state can also dismiss the charge without prejudice and present the case within 6 years of the arrest on a felony to the grand jury for an Indictment.

The speedy trial limit for a felony is 270 days from the indictment. Any days spent in jail on the initial arrest would count towards that 270 days count 3 for one.

In short, the excuse given by the police is ridiculous. The state can arrest him, dismiss and present the case to the grand jury when the test results are complete. Though the results are usually in plenty of time to pursue a felony without dismissing the case and refilling.

Dispute Lite

That is all true, but why charge and dismiss. This just ties up the court system and wastes money. These people can be charged later with the exact same offense once the drug test results come back and then just follow through with the case from there.

Now, I am not defending the PD there at all. I'm just pointing out that either way the person will be charged and will have their day in court. It seems like a huge waste of time and effort to charge, then dismiss, then serve them again after a grand jury. I know that the business owners want to see an arrest on the spot, instant results for their call, but good case management is to test the suspected drugs and then take it to the grand jury. BCI is not the quickest with drug test results, if a more important case comes up, things like pib's small amount of suspected cocain gets pushed down the list.

I'm saying that what you've stated isn't true, just voicing my opinion and past experiences.


You don't have to dismiss the charge, your drug task force can have the drugs checked in a matter of days.


Correct. There are preliminary tests that can be run by LEO's. If this were not the case, then every major pot, opiate, and cocaine bust would walk. That's ridiculous.

Dispute Lite

The Nik Tests are done by any LEO to test the substance, these are good enough for a preliminary hearing where the prosecutor has to prove that a crime was probably committed and that the defendant probably committed that crime. For a trial, you have to have a certified tech test the substance (like BCI) and be available for the trial if called to be there. All I was pointing out is that there are different options to deal with these cases, didn't mean to say they shouldn't arrest or not arrest, each situation is different, with different types of drugs and different amounts of those drugs. I've seen cases that have gone both ways, some where there was an immediate arrest and some where the tests were done first before taking it to the grand jury. Sounds like the chief has now locked himself into a zero tolerance on drugs stance so we will have to see if that holds water or not.


The plan to solve the alleged drugging problem, goes like this.

We get a portable breathalyzer and when the girl comes in and says that she was drugged, we have her blow. Then when it shows she was legally drunk, we say "See? The drug was Bud Light, Jack Daniels and vodka".

This does not mean there were no drugs in her system!!

The Chief even told of one case were, when a girl came in the station and claimed she was drugged. After the girl blew and saw the results, her and her husband turned and left the station right away. He was proud of this, like he proved the girl was lying.

Listening to the meeting, and hearing the chief and his officers speak, I got a real feeling of misogynistic attitude coming out of the department. This is quite disturbing because we are talking about crimes specifically against women.

How can these guys have any empathy towards a female victim, when they have a chief telling them to just prove they are drunk?

They have the attitude that it's the girls fault, she was drunk. She can't be drugged she is just drunk. It's only alleged rape, because she was drunk. Have them blow in the breathalyzer prove to them they are drunk so their accusations mean nothing, and send them on their way.

Even more disturbing, is there is a female mayor sitting beside him, nodding her head, like this is a brilliant idea.