Nearly a year after the questionable arrests of two hotel employees at the Put-in-Bay Resort last September, Ottawa County Prosecutor Mark Mulligan still won't comment whether he intends to seek convictions.
Mulligan is thick in the middle of the decision to arrest the employees, and allegedly authorized the action after the hotel did not immediately issue a paycheck to a terminated employee.
The fired employee was the girlfriend of Put-in-Bay police Sgt. Steve Korossy, who made the arrests, hotel officials said.
Video surveillance at the hotel captured Korrosy and three other PIB police officers making the arrests. The hotel's owners and management contend — and the video seems to confirm — that the arrests were improper and false.
But Mulligan has refused to comment whether he authorized the action or confirm he gave orders to Korossy to arrest the employees, who were working at the hotel's front desk when they were handcuffed and hauled off to a holding room at the PIB police station.
Mulligan told the Register previously he was not familiar with the arrests despite his alleged involvement and referred questions to assistant Prosecutor Dave Boldt. Boldt also has refused to respond to inquiries about the arrests.
Mulligan appears intent on seeking convictions in Ottawa County Municipal Court, but he has refused to explain why a police investigation was launched in a civil matter and whether it was proper to allow an officer with a personal relationship to the victim to lead the investigation.
Korossy has not responded to questions about his alleged relationship with the woman who was fired by the hotel. He also has not responded to questions about the appropriateness of his involvement in the investigation, or why police were investigating a civil dispute.
PIB police Chief Ric Lampela also did not respond to inquiries about the alleged relationship, or whether the arrests were proper, and whether the arrests were authorized by Mulligan.
Korossy spearheaded the investigation into his girlfriend's paycheck, and another investigation into a parking ticket for a golf cart. Two employees were charged with obstruction when they declined to talk with him about his girlfriend's termination; a third employee was charged with obstruction after she could not immediately provide him with a rental contract for the golf cart.
It does not appear the police department launched any investigations into complaints from about 15 island visitors that they were drugged unconscious during their trips to Put-in-Bay, suspecting someone had slipped unknown drugs into their drinks. One victim did test positive for a psycho-active drug she did not knowingly ingest, but Korossy suggested during a public forum the alleged victims might simply have had too much to drink.
Sgt. Korossy seemed to dismiss the complaints during a public forum with residents July 31. He used his fingers to denote quote marks as he called the complaints "alleged druggings."
Korossy and Lampela both complained during the forum about the Register's coverage, but neither of them has contacted the Register to dispute specific coverage or suggest than any coverage has been inaccurate.
Lampela did say during the forum he was out of town the day one article published by the Register stated he did not respond to questions. Lampela has been contacted numerous times, however, and he does not respond to inquiries.
Island Mayor Margaret Scarpelli has played dumb to questions from the Register. She told hotel officials 10 months ago she would conduct an investigation. But the mayor never did, and she's never agreed to review the hotel's surveillance video or made any contact with the hotel, its employees or management since she agreed to it, they said.
Scarpelli did ask earlier this month, and Village Council approved, spending up to $15,000 for an operations assessment of the police department headed up by PIB's part-time law director George Wilber.
Wilber also has been AWOL in responding to inquiries about multiple controversies surrounding the police department, however, including alleged harassment of the PIB Resort and other businesses and residents. Wilber does not return phone calls from the Register. He generally does not provide public comment on public issues.
Critics of the mayor and Lampela fear the study will amount to nothing more than a whitewash of potential criminal behavior, false arrests and wrongful prosecution.
"What if they find criminal wrongdoing?" one resident who attended the July 31 forum on July asked. "Do they have the authority, or do they pat everyone on the back and let them go?"