Top Secret: False police reports

Ottawa County prosecutor's office incorrectly cites state law; refuses to release public records on bad arrests
Register
Aug 26, 2014

Nearly a year after a Put-in-Bay police sergeant arrested three employees at the Put-in-Bay Resort, police and prosecutors contend the reports documenting their arrests must remain secret while they continue conducting a criminal investigation.

PIB police Chief Ric Lampela, village law director George Wilber and Ottawa County Prosecutor Mark Mulligan all also refuse to answer allegations the employees were falsely charged.

The arrest reports are "confidential law enforcement investigatory records," Ottawa County assistant prosecutor Joe Gerber told the Register on Monday. 

Watch: Surveillance video from strange island arrests

Gerber incorrectly cites an exemption in state law that protects records from disclosure prior to an arrest.

Law enforcement agencies are required by law to document their interactions with the public and file detailed reports when arrests are made. Those reports are generally — with few and precise exceptions — public record. 

Gerber's not the first assistant to get passed the hot potato from Mulligan. 

Mulligan authorized the arrests, according to PIB police Sgt. Steve Korossy. Korossy can be heard stating that on hotel surveillance video of the arrests, and he documented Mulligan's authorization in his report, according to hotel officials. 

But Mulligan has refused to comment on his involvement, and he previously told the Register assistant county prosecutor Dave Boldt was overseeing the prosecution of the cases against the employees. 

Like Mulligan and Gerber, Boldt also refused to comment or provide documentation, incorrectly citing limitations to the public records law that don't exist. 

Korossy arrested the hotel's general manager, Lisa Cooper, on Sept. 23, at the hotel when she could not immediately provide him a rental contract for a golf cart that was cited for a parking violation. 

Cooper was charged with obstruction. 

Korossy came back to the hotel's front desk the next day with three other PIB police officers and in separate incidents arrested two employees — charging each with obstruction — after they refused to talk with him about the hotel's decision to fire another employee.

Korossy demanded the fired employee be immediately paid.

The fired employee was Korossy's girlfriend at the time, hotel officials told the Register.

Chief Lampela and Korossy have refused to respond to inquiries or provide any explanation for the arrests or responses to the allegation the woman and Korossy had a personal relationship, or why he would investigate what appears to be a civil matter. 

Hotel officials contend Lampela has waged a campaign of harassment against PIB Resort and other businesses and residents who have questioned police conduct. 

Mulligan has refused to say whether he authorized the arrests, and he previously provided conflicting information to hotel officials about his role. 

The hotel provided the surveillance video of the arrests, which they say clearly show Korossy violating the civil rights of all three employees when he handcuffed them for declining to talk with him.

Lampela, Wilber and Mulligan all refuse to say whether they've viewed the video and will not comment on it, or address the false arrest complaints from the employees and hotel officials.

One of the three obstruction cases was dismissed.

Wilber and Mulligan refuse to say whether they intend to seek convictions on obstruction charges for the two unresolved court cases.

Read more strange happenings on Put-in-Bay

Comments

Babo

SR: You need to have your lawyer sue for these records through a complaint in mandamus at the Ohio Supreme Court. Don't bother with the Sixth District as that court has too many connections to PIB and Ottawa County.

Also, please obtain and publish the court docket and filings for these PIB cases as it would help prove your points. It's a shame but probably intentional that the Ottawa County Municipal Court doesn't appear to have these criminal cases available by the internet.

For example, I'm still wondering what kind of lawyer would allow his client's misdemeanor case to languish this long especially without access to the records in discovery. Thanks!

Ralph J.

LIKE

Ralph J.

"Ottawa County prosecutor's office incorrectly cites state law;" Incorrectly? Probably intentional like the manufactured evidence in a prior case. Call in the FEDS! Vote NO to Croy and yes to Winters. Winters throws out manufactured evidence in court cases. Mulligan was ticked off about that case and refused to file perjury charges.

Babo

I heard from some people this weekend that Croy is running around to Township Trustee meetings ASKING for a political endorsement in a NON PARTISAN race for County judge! Could she be any more blatant that she views a judgeship as a political office and that it can be obtained by horsetrading favors with other politicians and government employees including preferential decisions in cases?

In other words she had made it painfully obvious that she can not administer justice in an impartial manner and would not treat the rest of us peons (non government employees) the tax paying producers of the county fairly. If you're Chris Redfern, an office holder, PIB or other police officer, teacher etc, you've got nothing to worry about but God help the rest of us.

amusedNdanbury

You throw all police AND teachers into that group? Speaks volumes about you.

As for anyone running for political office, they may ask to be heard at any meeting and most do attend one township meeting, city, county, agency, other government meeting to be seen and heard. They actually do "run" for office, nothing I want to do.

I have worked with Winters and Croy. One of the two must not feel it necessary to spend time "running". Good ol' boy system being what it is.

Common knowledge: A married woman who sleeps around is a whore. A married man who sleeps around is successful.

Babo, how many government meetings have you attended?

Babo

I did not throw all police and teachers into "that group". Just pointing out that in Ottawa County government workers especially if active in their unions are protected and the rest of us do not receive equal protection under the law.

It's perfectly acceptable to show up for government meetings and campaign but to ask a government entity to endorse you in a race for county judge is way over the line in terms of judicial ethics.

I don't care who a male candidate is sleeping or whether his wife has a girlfriend or lover nor do I care who a female candidate is sleeping with or whether her husband has a boyfriend or lover as long as the judge or prosecutor isn't cutting any favors for them and that would include a husband, wife or lover. Don't assume I support her opponent either.

It's just a question of the lesser of two evils for me and it's unfortunate that this is what we have to choose between. Then again the situation in the office of prosecutor is worse..no choice whatsoever.

Finally, I've attended many government meetings (over 100) from the township level to congressional hearings

Unassumer

Bring 'em down!

yea right

It seems that the SR is chicken. What are they scared of. All bark and no bite

Julie R.

The Ottawa County prosecutor's office incorrectly cites state law?

Big deal. They intentionally pull off that crap in Erie County, too.

deertracker

....and lots of other places too. The average person is clueless to the law!

amusedNdanbury

The average person trusts authority. Ask the county auditor a question that is immediately answered, the average person is good with that. Easy peasy. But, SHOW ME THE PROOF! I will not be dismissed with some random answer. Never want to be average either.

Random Thoughts

The reports would of had to have been provided to the people charged as part of the discovery process.  I'm sure the Register could obtain copies of those reports from them as they, or their employer PIB Resort (or their attorney) provided the video of the arrests.  I can think of no good reason why they wouldn't also provide the police reports to the Register.  Just because you can't get them from the police or the prosecutor, doesn't mean they aren't available elsewhere.  Please ask for them from those people (if you haven't already done so) and post the reports for all to see.  According to your article, "hotel officials" already told you some of what was in the reports. Why not provide copies to you also.

Skinny boy from...

It would seem that you maybe incorrect. In addition to the CLEIR exemption the prosecutor should also have cited the exemption under ORC: 149.43(A)(1)(g) Trial Preparation Records which are not public records. They are defined as “ANY RECORD that contains information that is specifically COMPILED in reasonable anticipation of, or in defense of, a civil or criminal action or proceeding, including the independent thought processes and personal trial preparation of an attorney.” (emphasis added) This can be found on pg 35 of Ohio Sunshine Laws. The book goes on to state "Virtually everything in a prosecutor’s file during an active prosecution is either material compiled in anticipation of a specific criminal proceeding or personal trial preparation of the prosecutor, and is therefore exempt from public disclosure as “trial preparation” material.348" The initial incident reports are public but they can, legally, be very sparse. They are usually simply fill in the blank type forms 1 or 2 pages long and contain little if any narrative. Even if they do contain narrative that part can be withheld from release under the CLEIR Investigatory Work Product Exception. Also any investigative reports are clearly covered under the CLEIR Investigatory Work Product exemption. This exemption expires when the court case and any possible appeals are concluded, not when there is an arrest. (Pg65 "Ohio Sunshine Laws" 2014 edition) If PiB PD is not releasing the form reports then they may be in violation. How ever the Prosecutor office Trial Preparation Records are specifically defined as NOT being Public Records by ORC: 149.43(A)(1)(g) and therefore never subject to release.

As I have said before I looks as thought there is something questionable about what is occurring at the PiB PD and in at least this case it seems to be more than simple lack of training and young inexperienced officers. However articles such as this that are attacking and inflammatory with questionable factual basis are doing nothing to get closer to the facts of what occurred. Articles such as these only detract from the meat of the matter. As Julian said in a post for another article it starts to look like the SR vs. PiB PD, that appearance doesn't serve the interest of finding the truth of what really happened, it and this paper then only become a distraction. Don't become a distraction!!

Babo

Arrest reports are not considered part of the prosecutor's trial preparation records. You are stretching things here to an extreme. Trial preparation records are those documents containing the prosecutor's strategy and thoughts about the case, not documents that relate the actual facts of the case and could be admitted as evidence.

Though I do wish the SR would obtain the reports from the defense counsel who has to have them and publish them or sue the PIB PD over their records policy. There's something very wrong here.

Jeff Strongman

Me thinks old Matty has seen and likely has copies of the police reports already but doesn't want to post them because they probably contain logical explanations for the so called "false arrests" And that would pop his agenda balloon.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks Jeff Strongman, but there's no logic in your suggestion. The Register is making a public records request for the reports but you're wondering if the newspaper already has copies and won't post them. That doesn't make any sense. And you fear the Register is hiding the reports because they contain "logical explanations" for what occurred. Watch the video, Jeff. It's difficult to imagine what "logical explanations" there could be for what you can see and hear as the arrests happen. 

 

amusedNdanbury

The ORC is clear about public requests for documents. Whether documents take longer due to redacting, are not written yet, or are "pending"--the Register is well aware of how to file suit for violation of a document request, I think.

Carry yourself to the Sheriff's Office and request the document yourself. See what happens for you. If you want to be a watchdog, then do it. Here's a link to show you how: http://watchdogwire.com/ohio/201.... Of course, too many people just wanna judge from their laptop.

Skinny boy from...

“ANY RECORD that contains information that is specifically COMPILED in reasonable anticipation of, or in defense of, a civil or criminal action or proceeding, including the independent thought processes and personal trial preparation of an attorney.” (emphasis added) This can be found on pg 35 of Ohio Sunshine Laws. Not my words but taken directly from the Sunshine Law handbook. It specifically states ANY RECORD then later includes "independent thought process and personal trial preparation". Only a basic fill in the blank Incident report is required to be released prior to the conclusion of the investigation or court case/s. Anything with a narrative about what the officer observed or discovered during the investigation of the incident is exempt from disclosure as a CLEIR until the complete conclusion of the case.

Please define what you belive is in an Arrest Report.

As for why the Register hasn't put the reports online for all to see I can't say, unless it has something to do with that they were obtained through the discovery process. Either way it doesn't look good The Register not posting them or explaining why they haven't. Again they cause unnecessary distraction.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks Skinny. The Register does not have the reports and therefore cannot post them here. An arrest report is a record of an arrest. It would seem obvious any law enforcement office is required to keep records of all arrests and be transparent with that information, otherwise you give permission for agencies to make secret arrests. That transparency is codified and required by the public records laws, regulations and court precedent. The exemption you cite does not apply to the public records requested. That's been clearly shown repeatedly in past court cases and public records mediation.

Skinny boy from...

Thanks for clarifying that you don't have the reports and that is why you haven't posted them. How ever I fail to see how the Register thinks the records the prosecutor has are not Trial Preparation Records? A criminal case is pending relative to these incidents, so records compiled for the prosecution of those cases clearly meet the definition. As Trial Preparation Record they are specifically defined by statute [ORC: 149.43(A)(1)(g)] as not being Public Records. Therefore the prosecutors office records relative to the cases cannot be demanded under ORC:149.43. The correct source for you to attempt to demand the police reports is the Village of Put in Bay. As for the basic fill in the blank incident report I agree that it is subject to disclosure. However the officer's naratives are investigatory work product and exempt from disclosure as Confidential Law Enforcement Investigatory Records until after the completion of the cases and any appeals. See pg 65 of The Ohio Sunshine Laws handbook for detailed explanation. Obviously records of arrest have to be kept to enable prosecution of the case. How they are kept and the form they take is up to the individual agency. Sooner or later the records the PD has will become subject to disclosure. If you truly believe you are improperly being denied the record use the remedy provided in ORC: 149.43(C)(1). I think you are being improperly denied the basic incident report. But I also think the Prosecutor and Police are on solid ground with their claim of exemption under Trial Preparation and Confidential Law Enforcement Investigatory Records for the time being.

Also in this article you mentioned that there was a video of the arrest of the manager for the refusal and/or inability to provide a golf cart contract. I don't remember it ever being posted. Could you please post it or direct me to where it is posted if you did and I missed it.

Babo

The narrative of the arrest and investigation is not exempt and it is a Public Record. Furthermore, it must be provided to the defense as part of discovery because the police officers are certainly going to be called to testify and questioned about their police reports or the defense can subpoena the records. The defense has to have these reports.

Again, the SR needs to sue PIB PD for production of these reports.

Skinny boy from...

The narrative of the arrest and investigation are direct Investigatory Work Product and are not subject to disclosure until the investigation and/or any and all court cases are completed. This can be found in the Ohio Sunshine Laws handbook pg 65 I believe. It is subject to discovery under Criminal Rule 16 but I think there are rules that limit disclosure by defense counsel of items and information obtained through discovery.

Babo

No, you're wrong. Only a detective's thoughts/strategy or a lawyer's strategy of the case as compiled by them are protected work product. The facts of the case as disclosed in the narrative are public record.

It's been said a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. You need to research how the Ohio Supreme Court has construed the term investigatory work product or attorney work product in public records cases if you hope to mount any credible defense of your department's public records policies, Ric.

Skinny boy from...

Babo please provide citations for these supposed cases on how the Ohio Supreme Cout has construed the term. I provided citations for my ascertations. I stand by my statements and the supporting documentation I provided. Until you provide supporting documentation what you state is only your opinion and just cause you say doesn't make it so. Also what do you mean mounting a defense of MY departments record policies? Are you trying to imply something? Just come out and say it.

Babo

1) You're citing from a handbook from the office of the AG that is available to public officials and you are a new poster who suddenly appears concerned with PIB PD.

2) The Handbook is not recognized legal authority. A person legally trained would realize that the terms must be defined through case law citations but a police chief trying to justify his lack of compliance with the Public Records Act would try to confuse readers by conclusory interpretations of terms that suit his purpose.

3) The same Handbook advises public officials to contact the AG's office for opinions on Public Records issues to avoid public relations disasters such as this current one. Instead of seeking an opinion from the AG's experts, PIB PD uses a law director and county prosecutor with poor reputations and histories of protecting official misconduct by stonewalling the press and public.

4) You're defending (badly) the lack of transparency in the PIB PD.

Thus, it's reasonable to conclude you are Ric Lampela or someone close to him.

Skinny boy from...

Good afternoon. Still waiting on those Ohio Supreme Court citations to support your statemtns.

Now to address your other points.
1) The Ohio Sunshine Laws Handbook in not just available to Public officals but to ALL persons by simply going to this link http://www.ohioattorneygeneral.g... and clicking on the highlighted "“Sunshine Laws Manual or “Yellow Book”" link. Anybody with internet access can read it. Its a public document. As for being a new poster concerned with PiB PD I have simply found most of the Register's reporting of law enforcement matters to be all smoke, no fire. In this case I think there is actually a basis for their articles about improper law enforcement activities on PiB. I started hearing about problems with their PD 2 years ago from friends who live on the island and lets face it on it own the video of the 2 arrests is pretty compelling.

2) The handbook is not a legal authority but the Ohio Attorney General who's office authored it is. Also if you read it you will observe that it is heavily footnoted with the relevant case law citations. This suggestion seems to indicate that you have either note read it at all or simply ignore the parts that are inconvenient to you. BTW still waiting for you to provide the Ohio Supreme Court citation to support your arguments. I openly provided my source material.

3) I'm not sure what you are trying to say here other than you don't like Prosecutor Mulligan or Mr. Wilber which is only you expressing your opinion not fact.

4) I have defended some parts of what the PiB PD has claimed and not others. The parts I have defended are where I believe the Pros. and PD are within the bounds of the law to withhold information at the current time. These with be Trial Preparation Materials and CLEIRs. I also have stated in a reply to Mr. Westerhold on this article "I think you are being improperly denied the basic incident report."

On your accusation that I am Ric Lampela or somebody close to him I am neither. I have never met the man and only seen him once when I drove past him on the island. I have spoke to Sgt. Korrosy once 2yrs ago(didn't even know his name until I saw his picture in the paper). I found him to be a major league A-hole, and that only took 1 sentence from him. In prior comments I have supported the Register's attempts to investigate the problems with the PD, while advising them to stay away from needless distractions so it doesn't degenerate into SR vs PiB PD.
Prior comments re: these cases:

08/26/2014 10:02PM"...which is unfortunate given that on it's face this story appears to have strong basis."

08/26/2014 - 2:05AM "I think they are actually on to something but they need to stick to the facts." (you even replied to this comment)

08/26/2014 - 12:44AM "I agree that there appears to be troubling thing occurring with regards to the PiB PD. I watched the video and found the first arrest questionable and the second dumbfounding, and that's being charitable."

So for the record I stand by my comments above and any others i have made. I am not Ric Lampela nor anybody close to him. I have never met the man. I have never been employed by PiB PD and do not know anybody who currently is or ever was under his tenure. I have never been employed by the Village of Put In Bay. Sorry to ruin it for you. Hey, still waiting for those Ohio Supreme Court Citations that you crow about.

Skinny boy from...

Still waiting for those court citations. Guess it's fair to say you got nothing. All smoke no fire!

amusedNdanbury

So, go try it yourself. As noted in comment to Matt: Carry yourself to the Sheriff's Office and request the document yourself. See what happens for you. If you want to be a watchdog, then do it. Here's a link to show you how: http://watchdogwire.com/ohio/201...

Of course, too many people just wanna judge from their laptops. Be angry with a reporter or newspaper who isn't working hard enough to give you what you want? Take action yourself. See what you can accomplish. Maybe you can file the lawsuit and make a few (check ORC) bucks for all your time, documentation, efforts, frustration, gasoline, etc.

FedupIslander

Nothing logical In what I have seen other than the cops were in violation of several constitutional points. After all they would not have dismissed the case of the girl in the video if they thought it was legit. Prosecutor saw that one was well documented and tossed it before it even made it thru pre-trial.

FedupIslander

Nothing logical In what I have seen other than the cops were in violation of several constitutional points. After all they would not have dismissed the case of the girl in the video if they thought it was legit. Prosecutor saw that one was well documented and tossed it before it even made it thru pre-trial.

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