When contacted Oct. 7, district treasurer Mike Weis provided the additional documents — a check register and dozens of invoices related to district purchases from Huron Cement, a local business, from 2007-12.
The documents detail more than 40 recent transactions with Huron Cement, which longtime Huron school board member John Caporini owns.
Representatives from the Ohio Ethics Commission appear to be investigating Caporini, as well as fellow board member Tim Sowecke, owner of Ace Hardware. A few months ago, the commission requested invoices and paperwork regarding Huron Schools purchases at both local businesses.
The Ohio Ethics Commission fields complaints against public officials and determines if an accused individual’s behavior is unethical. Its representatives will not comment on ongoing investigations until they have released an official report on their findings, which only happens if an individual is found to be unethical.
On Sept. 30, the Register obtained documents the commission requested, which indicate Huron Schools paid Huron Cement about $20,000 during 24 transactions from 2002-07. The district also paid Ace Hardware a total of about $4,000 in 29 transactions from 2011-12. The district’s annual budget is about $15 million.
The additional documents obtained Oct. 7 indicate about $9,350 was spent during 40 transactions with Huron Cement between 2007-12, for a total of 64 transactions and $30,000 spent from 2002-12.
When asked if the commission had requested the additional invoices the Register received Oct. 7, Weis said he had “no idea” because of “search issues” in the district’s records system.
“We have had multiple requests for Huron Cement invoices, and this was a batch that went to someone,” Weis said in an email. “That is why it was filed in a different location. Not sure whom. I do know the batch sent to you last week did go (to the commission) for sure.”
Weis mailed the document detailing the commission’s initial public records request back to its representatives, using it as a checklist to ensure he sent paper copies of all documents they requested, he said. They said Friday the document is confidential, and the commission is not required to provide it to the Register.
Jim Peters, Huron Cement’s attorney, emailed the Register a statement Friday on Caporini’s behalf.
Prior to Friday, Caporini hadn’t yet commented on the alleged investigation, although at board meetings he has said his transactions with Huron Schools have adhered to Ohio Ethics Commission rules.
“Huron Cement Products Company has a long history of providing specialty products to Huron Schools,” the statement said. “The relationship predates John Caporini’s tenure on the school board.”
“Throughout the relationship the specialty products and services were provided at or below prices charged to comparablecustomers, at discounted prices or free of charge,” the statement continues. “With regard to the Ohio Ethics Commission investigation, Huron Cement and Mr. Caporini are cooperating fully with the investigation.”
Caporini has been a Huron school board member for 18 consecutive years, while Sowecke has been a member for two years.
Sept. 30 Records Request Oct. 7 Records Request
Ace Hardware $4,000 in 29 transactions; 2011-12
Huron Cement $20,000 in 24 transactions; 2002-07 $9,350 in 40 transactions; 2007-12