Ottawa County assistant Prosecutor Joe Gerber on Tuesday sent conflicting messages about his decision to withhold public records concerning the allegedly false arrests made by Put-in-Bay police.
Gerber in the morning said he would get an answer by end of business on Tuesday about his earlier explanation to the Register why he refused to release copies of the arrest reports involving three employees of the Put-in-Bay Resort.
The arrests were still under investigation, Gerber explained Monday, incorrectly citing an exemption in Ohio's public records law as the reason for his decision to withhold the arrest reports.
Generally, investigations occur before an arrest is made.
But later on Tuesday, Gerber switched it up and announced he was bowing out and intended to ignore the Register's public records request by handing it off to the village's law director.
“George Wilber represents Put-In-Bay; as a result, please direct your inquiry to him,” Gerber stated in an email to the Register later on Tuesday.
The Aug. 17 public records request from the Register was directed to the Put-in-Bay Police Department. Gerber contacted the Register in response to the request.
Wilber has not responded to inquiries from the Register. He generally does not respond to written inquiries, telephone messages or requests for comment on matters of public concern.
State laws that require transparency in documenting arrests and providing detailed arrests reports to the public upon request do not provide options for public officials to ignore public records requests.
The arrests at the PIB Resort happened in September 2013 and were captured on video.
Gerber's about-face Tuesday is similar to Mulligan's reaction to inquiries from the Register. Mulligan "authorized" the arrests of the PIB Resort employees, according to the arresting officer, PIB police Sgt. Steve Korossy.
But Mulligan provided conflicting information about his involvement, hotel officials have said. He later told the Register he was unfamiliar with the court cases and assistant Ottawa County prosecutor Dave Boldt was handling the criminal cases.
Boldt also declined to provide comment, respond to inquiries or provide public records related to the ongoing court cases.
Gerber, Boldt and Mulligan all have refused to respond to the false arrest complaints from the employees and hotel officials, and they refuse to disclose if they intend to seek convictions.
Two PIB Resort employees were charged with obstruction Sept. 24, 2013, after they refused to talk with Sgt. Korossy about the termination of another employee by the hotel managers. The woman who was fired was Korossy's girlfriend at the time, according to hotel officials, and Korossy demanded they immediately cut her a paycheck before he arrested and handcuffed them.
Korossy arrested the hotel's general manager a day prior, charging her with obstruction after she did not immediately provide him a copy of a rental contract for a golf cart involved in a parking violation investigation Korossy was conducting.
Hotel employees and officials, and others, contend they have been the victims of ongoing police harassment for years directed by police Chief Ric Lampela after having disagreements with him in the past and raising concerns about police misconduct.
Korossy and Lampela have not responded to inquiries from the Register about the alleged harassment, the arrests, or why Korossy was investigating a civil matter at the hotel and whether his girlfriend was the alleged victim.