Board members focus of ethics probe

The Huron school district doesn’t appear to have the documents necessary that would allow it to do business with the companies owned by two board members.
Alissa Widman Neese
Oct 15, 2013

 

The Ohio Ethics Commission appears to be investigating Huron board members John Caporini and Tim Sowecke, owners of Huron Cement and Ace Hardware, respectively.

Huron Schools has purchased products from both businesses on multiple occasions during each man’s time on the board, which is allowable if certain conditions are met.

There are three state-mandated requirements, including filing an affidavit with the district stating their exact employment within their agency, according the section of state law that outlines appropriate behavior of board members.

District treasurer Mike Weis said no affidavits were ever filed with Huron Schools, to his knowledge.

“I am unaware of any,” Weis stated in an email. “There may be some emails where this was discussed, but I would have no way to search by that criteria as we do not store that way.”

The other two criteria: The board member is “employed by a political subdivision, instrumentality or agency contracting with the board” and the board member does not vote on the contract, according to Ohio Revised Code.

Without the documents, any other exceptions for doing business with Huron Schools are moot, as all criteria must be met, according to state law.

A few months ago, the Ohio Ethics Commission requested invoices and paperwork regarding Huron Schools purchases at both Huron Cement and Ace Hardware. The Register obtained the documents this past month through a public records request.

The documents indicate Huron Schools paid Huron Cement about $30,000 over 64 transactions from 2002-12. 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 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.

According to Ohio Ethics Commission rules, a board member can do business with a district if he or she meets all four of the following exceptions:

• The board member’s business provides necessary goods and services.

• The purchase is part of a continuing transaction that existed before he or she was elected, or the goods and services are unobtainable elsewhere for the same or lower cost.

• Transactions are conducted at arm’s length, the district has full knowledge of the board member’s interest in the sale of the goods and services.

• The board member has taken no part in the deliberations or decisions concerning the transaction.

Both Caporini and Sowecke say their business practices with Huron Schools have been ethical.

Caporini’s attorney provided the Register with a statement Friday, explaining Huron Cement has a history of business with Huron Schools, predating his tenure on the school board. The company also provided its products and services at comparable or lesser prices, the statement continued.

Sowecke, meanwhile, said he talked with Weis after winning a school board seat in 2011 to confirm Ace Hardware could still do business with the district, with Weis stating it could. Email exchanges with district officials confirmed this statement.

Caporini has been a Huron school board member for 18 consecutive years, while Sowecke has been a member for two years.

Comments

Brick Hamland

Do the math on the transactions with Ace Hardware, it is roughly $138 a transaction. Who cares? $4,000 over a span of 2 years... Huron Cement dates back 10 years and the total amount is only $30,000. What a waste of time looking into this stuff. I can only imagine the cost of the investigation. Seems like there are more important things to be looking into. Fill out the affidavits and put the issue to rest. A few more articles on this and the reporter would have made more than Ace Hardware... hope that is true reporter! :)

Clark W. Griswald

Where else is huron supposed to get concrete?

worddrow811

Cantelli Block and concrete is in the township, behind Arby's.

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yeswee

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2sense

This is another small town witchhunt.

Informed

So expecting elected officials to follow proper regulations, and investigating when they don't, is a witchhunt? Nope. It's called the LAW! No wonder shady stuff like this goes on, with people like you and Brick making excuses and rationalizing unethical behavior.
Principles and ethics matter!!

bnjjad

Yes principles and ethics matter but what are they going to do? Fine them? Fire them and not do business any longer? what happens when you need a special concrete product? Since they were providing discounts I highly doubt that this is in regards to trying to make more money off these sales but were trying to do something good for the district when they could.

Yes they need to make changes to the quoting procedures and get paperwork filed, but this really is a non-issue. I do not think that $34000 in expenditures with a potential small savings is really worth all of this trouble and bad press.

You are making it out to be like the world is collapsing because Huron Cement charged $10K for a hammer that was only $10. When it probably in reverse. (not all companies are Walmart and can offer bargain basement prices, but established corporate relationships mean a lot, especially a local school doing business with a local company who hires local people who pay local taxes who have kids in the local school.)

Darwin's choice

^^This^^

Keep spending money to prove a point. You've already tossed away more than the total of both these on the last witch hunt. Fred's gone, time for the Board to stop the bleeding...Yes, some will argue it's the law, but, how much does stupid cost? Move on.

Informed

The board isn't spending money on this, nor investigating this. The OEC is. And the Fox situation was in no way a witchhunt. The guy was slime, and it's a good thing he is gone.
You want to talk about tossing away money--should we begin with how much Fox cost the district in teachers winning grievances because he would not follow the contract?

Justme...

Oh Darwin give me a break. You know darn well the district isn't spending money on this. The OEC is conducting the investigation and the Register is conducting an investigation. The law is the law. Be angry at those who broke it, not those who expect elected officials to follow it. Moving on is much easier when people admit they did something wrong. Hiring attorneys and denying doesn't help us move on.

bnjjad

And guilty before proven innocent has reared its head again.

Informed

Gris, most of the transactions with Huron Cement aren't even for cement; they are for other items that can and should have been purchased elsewhere. Even if it was for cement, there are still procedures that have to be followed and requirements that have to be met. Caporini did neither. In fact, when questioned about it by Catri, he would become defensive and arrogant.
Brick, even if the affidavit is filed, Caporini's business with the board still doesn't follow the OEC regulations. I'm not sure about Sowecke's. However, Asher started this whole thing by accusing Sowecke, forgetting about his pal Cap. And it is Cap who is the worst offender, in that at least Sowecke has emails with the treasurer trying to verify the approval of doing business.

Justme...

Sowecke isn't saying it was ok to do business with district, and explains why he thought it WAS ok. Caporini hires and lawyer and denies wrong-doing. Hmmm...where have we seen THAT before?

AEversole

Informed, get a life. This is so petty and pathetic. You should be happy that the money is spent in Huron and that it helps support local buisness and the community as a whole. Because they didn't dot the I or cross the T, you are acting as if they are involved in corruption and scandals. Who cares if they didn't get the stamp of approval. They both want to better the district and the community and are now being targeted by these ignorant and pathetic allegations of wrong doing........get a clue and take your right hand, reach behind you and remove that stick that is stuck right above your thigh and right below your lower back...

Justme...

Eversole, take the time to read the articles. This is not about crossing T's and dotting I's. The 4 criteria that would make it ok to sell to the district were not not met. And even if all four were met, paperwork was not filled out.

Informed

I am happy when the law is followed, and elected officials act with ethics and principles. Keep rationalizing illegal behavior. And sweeping things under the rug is corruption!
These allegations are neither ignorant nor pathetic.

Darwin's choice

Yes, they are. Who is paying for this investigation? Someone is? Not the school board, then the taxpayers of the state! One way or another, we're paying. Are you that dense? And, what do you want in the end? How much is ok with you to throw away on this witch hunt? If the "OEC" spends a million dollars on this, is that ok? Again, how much does stupid cost?

Informed

Then maybe the perpetrator of the wrong-doing ought to be fined to pay for the investigation.
I doubt the OEC employees get paid on a per case basis. They are paid to investigate ethics violations.
What do I want in the end? That's easy--justice. I want ethics rules to be followed, and those who do not to be punished in some way. What good is a rule if there is no consequence for breaking it?

Brick Hamland

@informed. I am not making excuses for them not filling out the paper work, and ended the comment with instructions to them to fill out the affidavit. I am merely saying to sensationalize this as if the two board members made away with some major profits is misleading and the amounts involved are pretty minor. If the janitor from the school walked into Ace Hardware to buy a replacement part for a broken toilet, was the board member suppose to tell him to shop elsewhere because he didn't have the proper work completed... Then the paper could have written an article like "Board Member Refuses to Sell To School- Toilet Floods Hallway"... I don't know why anyone wants to be a school board member, thankless job

Informed

There are four requirements that must be followed for a board member with a business to do business with the district. Those four requirements were not followed, paperwork or not.

Darkhorse

Sweeping ethics under the rug never works and creates bigger problems done the line if not addressed, just ask Cuyahoga County how ignoring it worked for them.

Julie R.

LIKE.

Common_Cents

I'm with the majority on this - it really is no big deal. I'm thankful the money was spent in Huron, at local businesses, which keeps employment up. The invoices reflect that the school paid standard or better prices, and despite what some irrational folks are saying, there is absolutely no evidence of corruption at either the schools or the businesses. These two business owners just didn't file the correct paper work. It is an easy fix - just get the forms filed, and move on. The couple people who incorrectly cry CORRUPTION are just pathetic drains on the rest of our town looking to stir up controversy where there is none.

Informed

You are wrong. It's not just about filing paperwork. You either didn't read the entire article, or you are not comprehending it. The four requirements for a board member with a business to conduct business with the district were not, and never have been, followed. Also, the district did not pay standard or better prices--$69 for a hose from Huron Cement that costs $39 at Menard's. How is that a standard or better price?

Brick Hamland

the standard or better pricing requirement is an "or" requirement with the first half of it being that the relationship existed previoulsy. Paying a local store more may in the end be better for the community. I wonder if Ace employs Huron High School students or graduates who then use that money to buy ice cream at dairy queen which employs Huron residents that spend their paychecks in Huron as well. Or you could pay less at a big box store in Sandusky...

Informed

No,it doesn't say that the relationship existed previously. It states that the transaction existed before the board member was elected. The transactions and projects in question occurred much more recently than eighteen years ago.

Brick Hamland

you either didn't read the entire article, or you are not comprehending it

Informed

I understand it completely. You are trying to give excuses to not follow the regulations.

SoldOnAcorns

Cap's hand has been in the cookie jar for years and there are no more cookies left, sorry pal. Right is right and wrong is wrong no matter which way y'all try to spin it ! This is black and white, very easy to understand for most. Except for the GOB network that wants to keep things the way they always have been in Huron. Those days are over my friends, you are under the microscope now. It was a good run though ! Enjoy !

Informed

Exactly! I am sick and tired of the excuses. Wake up, people!

Wa Tu Lo

Caporini did this to himself. If you remember he told Ms. Catri that he met two of the four ethics requirements to sell to the school. This happened at the school board meeting. Little did Caporini know that a woman from the ethics committee was in the audience. He incriminated himself. If you think this is a witch hunt your wrong. Get your facts straight or are you blowing smoke.

bnjjad

Informed and Justme clearly have insider knowledge. As for what happened this really is a small time deal and the amounts are not worth the huge cost that I am sure this investigation is costing the OEC.

They should buy local and as I see it if a local business owner is selling items to the school that they happen to serve on and are offering discounts I don't see a problem with it. Corporate clients always get better deals than short-term customers. Every business operates this way with corporate purchasing contracts. If I had business where I can provide cheaper products I would certainty provide a discount to my local school district if they wanted to be a customer.

They should just correct the mistakes and move on and continue business as usual. Huron does not have the money or the time for these petty games.

FYI: It is 3 Requirements with 4 exceptions to be met as well. READ

Justme...

Read the OEC guidelines and you too will have insider knowlege. I have based my opinion on that, rather than "as I see it". No matter how strongly people may feel about buying local, that is not part of the guidelines and we can't make up our own rules. You don't HAVE to be a board member if you own a business that has a history of selling to the district and you want to continue to do so.

bnjjad

I would rather have successful business owners on my board then people who are more interested in their own personal ego.

"Moving on is much easier when people admit they did something wrong. Hiring attorneys and denying doesn't help us move on" - You clearly know exactly what is going on in the investigation with comments like that. Or you are making assumptions.

I made my opinion on both. I have read the guidelines, I also have read the articles and talked to other people who are aware of this situation. I also have experience in purchasing/sales on the corporate side of things. Corporate clients are not like single customers. They are always treated differently.

Point-blank, they need to get the paperwork filed, and a procurement process needs refined on the School side and move on. But do not blacklist/fire/fine people who were trying to do something for the school district and the local tax base. If they were trying to buy a 10K hammer then maybe I would feel differently.

Justme...

No insider knowlege, nor assumptions. The paper quotes his attorney. As for your last paragraph, tell it to the OEC. They are the one's investigating.

UgtaBkdnMe

Justme, wonder who these posters are mad at? The OEC hears Caporini make a statement that exposes himself and the agency decides to investigate him. Was the OEC investigator suppose to ignore it? What is the point of having ethics laws if they don't apply?

Tsu Dho Nimh

It is up to the OEC on who they investigate, not the citizens of this town. I think the agency understands the laws and would not investigate something if the evidence did not warrant it.

Informed

No, I don't have insider knowledge. I read. I research. And we aren't talking about just discounts--we are also talking about things being overpriced (see the hose mentioned above for just one example).
And right, the four exceptions must be met. Caporini/Huron Cement did not meet them. The district can buy local all they want from a board member if those conditions are met. They weren't. For years they weren't. And now that it's trying to be handled, people like you make excuses for it and think it's no big deal.
As far as how much this is costing the OEC--it's their job to investigate complaints. That's part of what they get paid to do.
I don't think there is a single person that thinks someone is making millions of dollars here. But there is an improper relationship (sound familiar?) and it needs to be looked into and consequences have to be given.

bnjjad

In my experience with corporate procurement. I would overlook a item that is $30 more with the company that I am working with on a larger quote or project if I am getting better prices on everything else regarding that quote. I especially prefer to work with companies that i have a standing relationship with and have good contacts with so everything goes much more smoothly.

Guess that is why my company is doing pretty well with the things we have and my account reps like working with me and I like working with them.

I am not making excuses for anything. It is just a small non-big deal. They should correct the mistakes and move on. Nothing is going to come out of this investigation except for hurt feelings, bad press and the school board will have even more trust issues and hate directed at them. Not to mention possibly removing 2 people who so far have done nothing wrong for the SD other than this.

Informed

Um, the OEC would disagree with you. You cannot overlook something, even if it is just $30. And that was just one example. There are many, many purchases.
This wouldn't be a problem if Cap wasn't a board member. But he is.

whazup

Rules are for fools! It's best to just do what you want and ask for forgiveness when caught.

UgtaBkdnMe

It doesn't really matter what all you crap house lawyers think or interpret. Here's what a real attorney has to say. The same attorney Mr. Caporini wanted to investigate Fred Fox.

From: Gaschen, Dane
Date: Mon, Aug 6, 2012 at 3:51 PM
Subject: Ethics Concerns and Course of Dealing Exception [BRICKER-WS.FID191447]
To: michael_weis@huron-city.k12.oh.us

Mike,
In response to XXXXXX ‘s questions from this morning. The one statute at issue is R.C. 2921.42. In terms of whether the course of dealing exception applies, as noted in Ethics Opinion 90-003 (copy sent separately this morning) on page 4 it notes that if any material changes are made in the agreement between the parties the sales would not fall within the exemption because such changes alter the original understanding between the parties. Separately, in Ethics Opinion 90-005 (copy sent separately this morning) the Ethics Commission stated that each individual sale was a separate transaction and thus prevented the continuing course of dealing exception from applying. This would appear to be particularly applicable to your situation with the hardware store. Additionally, I have attached three other Ethics Opinions that addressed the exception in 2921.42. All of these would show that each contract that Mr. Caporini is involved in would need to be considered separately and does not constitute a continuing course of action. Further, there is an additional statute (attached) R.C. 3313.33 which prohibits a board member from having directly or indirectly any pecuniary interest in any contract of the board. So, even if you could get past the ethical considerations, R.C. 3313.33 prevents board members from having a pecuniary interest –directly or indirectly – in any contract entered into by the Board.

I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you need anything additional.
-Dane

Informed

I don't think Caporini wanted Fox investigated at all. In his and Asher's eyes, Fox did no wrong.

Darwin's choice

You are an incredible pest. Did one of them run into your car, or give you a bad haircut?

I will not vote for you!

Informed

What the heck are you talking about? How am I a pest? You don't even know who I am, and I can assure you, I am not running for school board! I wouldn't deal with people like you for the piddly amount school board members make!

whazup

I'd vote for you if you were running! BTW, which board member gives bad haircuts?

Wa Tu Lo

Some people will try and justify the moon is made of cheese. Caporini did this to himself. There are laws, as a public servant, you have to abide by. You have to meet all four (4) ethics rules. You can not break the ethic laws and expect just to get a slap on the hand. You will pay for your ethic violations. I have no idea what your motive is, other than you are trying to justify criminal activity by an elected official and a superintendent. Caporini is in trouble. He let the Huron taxpayer see what kind of person he really is and why he supported Fox. Asher was part of the "good ole boy' system, along with others, and people are starting to realize what their agenda is.

bnjjad

I don't think anybos here has even brought the fox saga up as being wrong other than mentioning a witch hunt.

As for criminal activity this is relatively minor. $30k out of $180+ million dollar budget is nothing. And I highly doubt that the board members told them to buy the stuff from them or else. This seems to be a paperwork error and being lazy at the same time. Yes it needs to be remedied but a multi month investigation going back 18 years is beyond ridicolus.

I don't condone criminal activity. I have to comply with SOX and internal audit committees so I know what's it like if I miss a piece of paper.

Either way I'm done trying to explain my opinion on the situation.

Edit: it seems the only way for people to get their way and circumvent the elections is to get a criminal investigation blasted in the paper. 18 years on the board, he must be doing something right.

whazup

You can keep saying it's just a paperwork error but the OEC doesn't waste its time on "just a paperwork" error. Did you bother to read the email from the attorney? Mr. Gashen is clear on how the ethics laws apply to the cement company and why Caporini couldn't sell to the district at any price. I'm sure that is the basis of the investigation, not "missing paperwork". Just like Cap, you blame everyone but him. Maybe he should have kept his hot headed comments to himself instead of opening his mouth in front of the OEC woman back in March. This isn't about circumventing the election. In the first article, Alissa said she tried to get the information in July but was told the OEC hadn't requested anything (which turned out to be a lie). Go back and read it. This could have been covered back in the summer.

bnjjad

I really tried to stay away from this article. I do blame him. I have said repeatedly it is a paperwork error and being lazy.

Nobody has once said to me why they are going back 18 years. 30K out of 180+ million of expenditures is nothing and it has already been spent. Correct the mistakes and move on. What are they going to do for that? Fine him? Fire Him for it?

Its just funny how all of this comes up during election times or when things get out of hand and people are already pissed off with elected officials. When you get someone new in that seat that has done something bad or is not liked i would bet there will be another investigation or "gate" scandal that will rock this SD. You cannot honestly tell me that this is not a convenient time for this stuff to come up. satisfaction with elected officials is at a all time low and everybody has pitchforks in their hands. Doesn't matter if there was 18 years of good service or not, 1 mistake and you should be jailed, fined, put out of business and then run out of town after.

As for not selling to the district at any price, that is beyond stupid. As long as the elected official has no input on the quote/procurement on both sides then it should be legal. If a elected official happens to own the only gas stations in the area what is the school going to do for buses? go 25 miles out of the way to fill up?

It is clear that the people in this comment system are only out to land-blast everybody no matter what. It doesn't matter if they were doing good deeds that are illegal or if they killed someone on accident. Every time a article comes up its gang this, gang that, illegal here, too bad there (look at the bullying article posted earlier, blaming the victim is comment 1 and 2). 0 compassion out of anybody here and as such they must be miserable in their own lives and nobody wants to be around them. Mountains out of mole hills. This should have been handled and maybe 1 article on it, now I can guarantee that there will be 3 or more articles before its over.

And I am sure that my opinion is wrong. its MY opinion. MY thoughts.

UgtaBkdnMe

Did it occur to you that if the treasurer had released ALL of the records the first time there would be no need for a second or third article? Amazing how the most damning records were not included in the original request from the SR. How convenient it would have been for the board member if we didn't see all of the receipts. Did you notice how the type of purchases morphed over the years? It went from simple, spur of the moment maintenance needs to cleaning supplies and over-priced vacuums. Oh yeah, don't forget the over-priced discharge hoses with a two week wait that could have been purchased off the shelve at a local chain store for half the price.

UgtaBkdnMe

In the Fox hearing transcripts, Asher testifies under oath that he brought up the ethical issue of doing business with Huron Cement with Mr. Fox on several occasions shortly after joining the board in 2010. Wonder why it took two years before the board attorney, Dane Gashen, was questioned? Notice that Gashen is clear in his response. With Asher's legal background, he should have questioned the relationship and according to his testimony, the practice continued for two more years. So I guess you have to ask yourself, is Caporini a victim or did Asher perjure himself?

Wa Tu Lo

"As a criminal activity this is relativity minor". You are missing the whole point. Look at the people that were board members the last eleven years. Fox even made the comment that "he doesn't have a problem getting what he wants". This criminal activity has been going for years. The Huron taxpayer will never know how much of their money was wasted. Everything has Fox's name on it. Remember tool gate, bus gate, trips out west, mileage to Fremont. Why would you buy three tools of each? Why would you sell a school bus for a dollar? Why would you rent a vehicle and put 400 miles on it when the convention you went to is in the same hotel where your staying? Why would you turn in mileage receipts for $800 plus for mileage to Fremont and back? This was all taxpayer money. I work hard for my money and this is clearly abuse of taxpayer dollars. Now your not going to tell me that Caporini, Asher, or Beula did not know this was going on. They had to agree to reimburse him.

All the people mentioned above had an agenda with Fox. They were all from the" good ole boys" system. Their agenda now is to miss lead the public and get the "good ole boys" back in office. Their main objective is to get Fox a seven figure settlement. Reward a person for corruption and what he did to the Huron taxpayers. Unbelievable

Julie R.

I would be curious to know how many of the hypocrites on here that are saying "the lack of ethics and morals is no big deal" sit in the Huron St. Peter Catholic church every Saturday night or Sunday morning.

Nemesis

No one is saying that. They're saying that ethics does not lie in a fetish for paperwork and bureaucracy.

whazup

But the ORC and OEC says ethics does lie in filing proper paperwork and bureaucracy. My question is why would Caporini not follow the laws? If he is a good businessman, then it would only make sense that he would follow the proper procedures. But he didn't. And he didn't follow board policy when he authorized some expenses for the superintendent. Then there's the EHOVE project. He voted as an EHOVE board member for the huge expansion project then resigned from the board so he could bid on the project. That is a big OEC no no. Ended up his bid was rejected due to a conflict in interest. EHOVE gets it so why didn't Cap? Me thinks I see a pattern. There is always more to the story than the Register reports.

srblogger

some of you are getting your underwear wet in a peeing contest over ethics of buisness selling to school? Why is this such a big ordeal to you? I read the invoices, the guy cut the schools a major price reduction. So what does he gain? Actually he's saving your pee pants money by selling to the school at cost or near cost. And this is the thanks he gets?

worst part of this is i bet NONE of you are going to vote yes for the renewal or the new taxes in the near future.

Im all with everyone of letting Fox go. But this ethic's on the two buisness's is for the birds.

Informed

No, he did not give a price reduction some of the time. Example, a hose he sold to the district for $69.99 that you can get for $39.99 at Menard's. That is just one example.
The fact that people consider following ethics laws is for the birds is appalling. It explains a lot about our society.
And I will vote YES for the levy! I have always voted for both Huron schools and EHOVE.

srblogger

This is where you are incorrect. Menards is a MAJOR buyer of this project. Huron Cement is not. Menards price they pay on this product is probably 60% less then what Huron Cement does. BECAUSE they purchase a ton more. Huron cement is small buisness. Menards is a national chain. Obviously you're not into buisness and cant figure that out.

if HC was to sell at that price, then they're taking money out of their pocket. They're not even breaking even.

Huron Cement donated boom trucks, wood to the homecoming . they didnt charge for it yet they had a person drive the boom truck . thats an expense to them for the courtesy of the school.

UgtaBkdnMe

I'm voting yes to the levy and not voting for A-B-M for school board.

Justme...

I too am voting a big YES for the levy.

betweenlines

In case you haven't noticed, those with Slocum, Green and Catri signs in their yard also have Yes on the Levy signs. Those with ABM signs usually don't. So, what does that tell you??

Darwin's choice

They weren't asked.....!

Informed

You don't have to wait to be asked. Make a phone call. Geesh!

Tsu Dho Nimh

Yards with AMB signs have the same opportunity to join the levy Facebook page, to attend levy meetings, and to sign the sheet at the football games for a sign in there yard as the Green, Slocum, and Catri supporters.

Nemesis

What I see missing here is any substantive allegation that the district's money was wasted or poorly spent. To hell with bureaucratic regulations and paperwork, THAT is the only requirement an intelligent taxpayer should care about.

In a small town with only one vendor in most business categories, and a limited number of people with the skills and will to be on the school board, the district is bound to end up buying something from a board member's business. If there's any malfeasance or undue influence involved, then, with all the loudmouth busybodies, we'd surely hear about it.

I've done concrete work recently, which involved spending a fair amount of time in Huron Cement's retail showroom. Most of the stuff there is not available at the three big boxes in Sandusky, and what is, is priced comparably, especially if you factor in time and fuel to get there. I also find it hard to believe, as Informed claims, that the majority of the business with a Cement company wasn't for things only a cement company offers, given the amount of pavement and other concrete infrastructure the school district owns.

There are also times that the convenience of Ace outweighs the lower prices at Menard's.

Bureaucratic checklists and paperwork are necessary for documenting a process in a more urban area with multiple vendors, etc - not so in this situation. The district has county-leading performance on 33 mills, despite myriad social changes that make educating kids more difficult. That's a solid indicator that these two board members are being responsible with our tax dollars, which is all that matters.

But hey, if you have a problem with the transactions, there's a simpler, cheaper solution than the OEC - it's called the ballot box. Don't re-elect them. Along those lines, I have a much bigger problem with the fact that Caporini was out campaigning for the library levy without being able to answer questions about the millage or term of the levy than I do with the district patronizing the only cement company in town.

UgtaBkdnMe

I agree that the ballot box is where the real change will happen. I posted last night and will say it again. Why are so many people aggravated that the OEC is involved? The investigator was in town and heard Caporini spouting off instead of keeping his cool. He brought this on but yet people are getting angry at each other on this blog. The OEC has its rules and guidelines and there's just not anything any of us can do about it. Unless the state changes its ethics laws, it is what it. It appears that they think he may be guilty of wrong doing. The board's legal council also is of the opinion that Caporini (or Sowecke) wasn't allowed to do business while serving as a board member. If you don't like the law, complain to the State of Ohio.

Informed

The problem with the ballot-box theory is there are enough "good old boys" around to keep some people, like Caporini, in office. They think he's a good guy because they've known him for over 50 years. I did not vote for him last time (mainly because of the rude and disrespectful manner that he addresses parents and community members when questioned) and will not vote for him if he runs again when his current term is up.
I hope and pray that none of the ABM trio get in.

Nemesis

I am so tired of every time someone doesn't like the way things go around here, it's the work of some mysterious "good ole boys" conspiracy. "Good ole boys" must be some local dialect translation of "illuminati." Do these "good ole boys" fly around in black helicopters?

Retiree

Having read the blogs the last few day, it is obvious that you will never convince some people the difference between right and wrong. I would guess that it is either "tunnel vision" or they are part of the "good old boys" group.

Wa Tu Lo: You are right on. It was a corrupt system that miss used taxpayers money. Now some of the people that feel they are "model citizens" are wanting to continue the corruption. I will not vote for A.B.M. because like you said, "they have an agenda". I do not want that "sly fox" stealing anymore of the Huron taxpayers money. Vote "yes" for the renewal levy. Some two-faced people in Huron want it to fail.

Nemesis

It's not a question of right or wrong. It's a question of the difference between failure to rigidly observe formalities, the purpose of which is to help prevent wrongdoing, and the actual wrongdoing they are designed to prevent. No one has presented any evidence of malfeasance with district funds, and it's doubtful anyone will. The total the district spent with each business over a decade probably amounts to a few days' revenue for each of them - that's real criminal mastermind stuff there, eh?

Years ago, when I lived in another county, it was time to renew my dog's license, I lost the renewal form, so I went to Pet Supplies Plus and simply purchased a dog license. A few months later I received a nastygram from the county dog warden about failure to renew the license, and how, I would be charged with a crime if I didn't respond immediately. I was in full compliance with the law but they were too stupid or lazy to cross check their own records, preferring to treat people as guilty and prove their innocence. This is pretty much the same thing - someone failed to fill out a form that supposedly proves they are not a thief.

There are good reasons not to vote for Caporini, but this is not one of them. It's up to you as his accuser to prove he's a thief, not up to him to prove he's not.

Informed

No one is saying he's a thief. We are saying he violated the ethics of a public servant.

Retiree

Informed: Thank you.

A dog renewal form compared to ethics violation. You lost me. Caporini had stated that the Fox ordeal "needed to be swept under the rug". You should go back and read what "Wa Tu Lo" said in his/her earlier blogs. There was an investigation into the thief of tools from the school's bus garage. Three of each tools were purchased but only one set stayed at the bus garage. Those tools were paid for by Huron taxpayers money. Some, not all of the tools were returned. Is this criminal? Thank the three board members for bringing the corruption to a head.

Julie R.

If that's all true about the tools, I guess they figured if the tools were put back after they got caught, then it wouldn't be considered theft. So who was the police chief in charge during this alleged 'theft of tools' time period, not to mention the school bus that was sold for a measly $1? (Never mind, I already know. Didn't his last name end in a vowel?)

Princess87

When will this all end?

Retiree

When justice is served.

Julie R.

Or karma. Sometimes that's the sweetest justice of all.

whocares

If ABM gets in their real agenda is going to cost the community even more money. Their mailers have been full of lies and have had misleading information. I would also like to know what business have refused to locate to Huron due to the school situation. Our Chamber of Commerce is being used for someones personal gain.

Informed

They keep trying to use money as a reason to ignore or defend unethical behavior. I am sick of it!

Princess87

Sick of what?? Keep focus. It is about the students of Huron..education! The voice has been heard

Informed

Sick of hearing about what it costs to investigate unethical behavior or to terminate the perpetrator. Doing the right thing often has a price, be it financial or otherwise.
It is about the students...and about the leadership of our schools. And the investigation is about that leadership.

whazup

I believe the right people will be voted in. As a sign on Cleveland Rd reads, Principles matter. ABM is using negativity to sway people where the other four candidates are focused on the positive. I have to believe the voters will see through the mud.

Princess87

I hope you are right.. What is the climate in Huron..Is it split?..I know how I am voting.. I tend to say clear of all the gossip and make an determination on the reputation and the stance the board members take. It is very true people that run for the school board usually have their own agenda.. Everyone who is running does..except for Catri.. I truly think she cares about the education of the students

TaxRaider

I am voting for Mrs. Catri based on her educational and business experience. Most people know she is a teacher in Sandusky, an intervention specialist with a Master's degree in Literacy, but are not aware that prior to teaching she was a licensed insurance agent with many years of business experience. Mrs. Catri has the ability to make decisions based on data not emotions. She understands what our students need to be career and college ready.

Retiree

I have heard many positive things about Ms. Catri. She would be a good fit with Ms.Green and Mr. Slocum. I support Green and Slocum for having the courage to go after Fox and all the corruption. They took a lot of abuse and heat but stood firm. The students, school system and taxpayers was their best interest and they made that perfectly clear at the debates.

Julie R.

I took a lot of heat and abuse, too, from the jokes at the Erie County courthouse when I filed complaints against the attorneys and other dirt-bags that criminally defrauded my mother at the end of her life, but I still stood firm. Remember how the unethical clowns tried to intimidate me? I'm still laughing over that one!

Truth and Justice

A special thanks goes out to Brick Hamland, Clark W. Griswald, 2 Sense, bnjjad, Darwin's Choice, Aeversole, Common_Cents, Sandusky Register and Nemesis. I apologize if I missed any of you rational people. You people are a voice of reason on this blog. It is appalling the garbage, trash and lies these Green, Slocum and Catri supporters put out.

Truth and Justice

Whazup - don't make me laugh about Green, Slocum and Catri running a positive campaign. You know as well as I do that their supporters are stealing signs, threatening businesses, intimidating residents to take down signs, lying in their literature and dropping confidential information in Bank night depository boxes. You can cover up their low-life activities only so long.

I don't ageee with Catri when she said that everybody lies under oath. I do know that Slocum, Green and Sowecke did admit under oath, numerous times, that they violated Board Policy and in some instances the ORC. Erie County Common Pleas Court will determine if the Sunshine Laws were violated as they will conduct a hearing on that matter before making any decision on the appeal. If Sunshine Laws were violated - the Court could toss out everything.

UgtaBkdnMe

Catri never said everyone lies under oath. I think your good friends Caporini, Asher, Wechter and the Buleas told you about the board meeting Tuesday. She answered Asher's stupid response by saying "people say lots of things under oath." They just jumped to their own conclusion. She was referring to the fact that Lally, MrCarthy, Ruf, and Von Thron testified under oath but Asher doesn't give their statements credibility. Did they tell you what her question was? She wanted to know when did Todd Nelson or any rep from Kalahari approach the board about this generous donation that we have lost according to Wechter and the PAC. Did they tell you that the answer was "NO", there was NEVER an offer made to the board? Mr. Bulea sitting in the audience butts into the discussion (like an idiot) and says that Nelson testified under oath that he was planning on making the donation. Again, NO ONE including your wonderful Casherini Twins could say that Nelson ever approached the board about making a donation. Read the testimony Bulea was referencing (starting with line 1925) and you will see how stupid the Buleas and the Casherini Twins response was. The district needed $600,000 - $700,000 for the auditorium. Nelson offered to help with fundraisers. Ends up the tax abatement over 15 years will pay for it.

These three candidates aren't running a campaign together so don't compare them to ABM. The only literature I have seen is the garbage that comes through the mail and if it weren't for lies, the paper would be blank. Also, you can't hold the candidate responsible for stolen signs. According to the Huron PD, it's just a bunch of kids. All of the candidates having missing signs! Check with the PD before spouting off nonsense.

UgtaBkdnMe

Correction, Mr. Nelson's testimony starts at 2225 (Vol. VIII).

2249
I A Well,I believe Fred was estimating between 6 and
2 $700,000 it was going to cost to replace to do that
3 project, and we were trying and figure out what
4 would be the best way to put that project together,
5 you know, so as little outlay of cash as we can out
6 of anyone, but, you know, as we did expansions, I
7 was planning on getting some of our subcontractors
8 to participate again. We would have put cash in.
9 We would have probably put some water park passes
10 in again. We would have gotten very creative as to
II how we did it.

How does "so as little outlay of cash as we can out of anyone" and "have gotten very creative as to how we did it" become Mr. Nelson was going to give the district over $600,000? Looks like Asher, Caporini, and Bulea are called out yet again on their lies. What part of the announcement that board meetings are being recorded do they not understand?

whazup

Now I'm laughing. I've heard that a certain realtor has been pressuring people to place signs in their yards, including family members. Have you ever noticed that so many yards with Lighthouse signs also have the block signs? Don't know anything about confidential literature in a bank depository box but there should be security cameras. I have heard about missing signs and a few candidates have filed police reports. If Green, Slocum and Catri supporters are stealing ABM signs, then who is stealing Green, Slocum and Catri signs? Sounds like Ugta is right when saying its just a bunch of kids. I will say that I noticed several AMB signs come down after the Ethics story on Caporini came out, including a certain brick house on Cleveland Rd. Don't confuse people changing their mind about who they support with theft.

Dudley Do-Right

Truth and Justice you lie on the blogs!!! Catri didn't say everybody lies under oath. You must be hittin' the bottle or your hearing aid battery went dead.

I haven't seen any literature from Green, Slocum and Catri but I have received several pieces from A B M. With each piece of literature I receive from the A B M PAC, I read an article or letter in the Sandusky Register, Huron Hometown News, or read the school district website and find out the PAC literature is spinning with mis-information.

Wa Tu Lo

I have lived in Huron all my life.I find it appalling and pathetic the way some people will misconstrue the truth to benefit themselves or some else. I was at the school board meeting the other night and I did not ever here Ms. Catri say "that everyone lies under oath". If you want to read about people lying under oath, read those pathetic reports from some of the people that testified under oath and the referee's final decision. You know who I am talking about. They have been mailing and spreading lies for a long time now.

The township trustee's and Kalahari agreed on tax abatement for fifteen years and the amount of tax dollars that Kalahari would pay that would go to McCormick Junior High. Never was anything said about free money given to that school. That person lied at that March Board meeting.

Julie R.

If Ms. Catri really said "everyone lies under oath" she would be partially correct. I know for a fact attorneys do. I know for a fact judges do, too.

UgtaBkdnMe

For the record, she didn't but I know what point you're trying to make.

Dudley Do-Right

Let's do the math: The McCormick project is estimated to cost between $600,000-$700,000. The 15 year tax abate Kalahari agreed to is for 15 years at approximately $52,000 per year, which will generate $780,000. Now the ABM campaign would like us to believe Mr. Nelson was going to donate an additional $600,000 for the project; suddenly the cost of the project doubled? Wow I want to be one of the contractors on this job.

whazup

And Huron Cement can supply the material, at a reduced rate, of course!

Brandy1976

All of the newly renovated football stadiums in the area, Huron, Sandusky, and Perkins were built with significant help from a financial partner. Cedar Point donated to Sandusky and Dick Kinzel personally donated over $100,000 for the Sandusky scoreboard. Firelands hospital donated to Perkins. Kalahari donated $200,000 plus gave water park tickets to sell for Huron. Thank goodness each community has an organization and someone who cares about kids.

However, Huron makes Mr. Nelson sound like his loyalty is to Fred Fox and not the kids. And now they make him look like he is trying to bribe the voter: elect my friends, make my friend the superintendent and I will donate $600,000. Really, this is the way you want to portray Mr. Nelson?

whazup

Brandy, the community is not trying to portray Mr. Nelson in a bad light. Good friend Mr. Wechter has been running his mouth about all of the things Mr. Nelson was going to do but won't anymore. It just isn't true. Board members Asher and Caporini, along with former board member Bulea, have been spewing the same. Unfortunately for Mr. Nelson, when the record is set straight on their lies, he is the center of it. Mr. Nelson should find a better class of friends.

UgtaBkdnMe

Brandy,
I think I note a sense of sarcasm in your comment. This testimony sure sounds like a man who is about the kids and not loyal to his good friend, Fred. (yes, this is sarcasm)

2250
I Q Okay. I take it that things have changed since
2 thls matter involving Fred Fox has started; IS that
3 correct?

4 MS. SZUBERLA: Objection, leadlng.

5 A I don't even like driving through Huron any more.

6 Q Pardon? I didn' t hear you.

7 A I don't even like driving through Huron any more.

8 Q What happened?

9 A The three clowns on the school board that are
10 literally criminal in how they've acted have
11 literally ruined everything.

12 Q Okay.

13 A Building that field, for my wife and I, there's a
14 video out there, Pat, the night that we dedicated
15 the field, and I've done a lot of projects and done
16 a lot of really good things in my life, and I never
17 felt as good as my wife and I did that night
1 8 standing out in that field, and these guys for
1 9 whatever ulterior motive they had to go after Fred,
20 they have ruined every bit of goodwill humanly
21 possible, and I wouldn't do anything, nothing right
2 2 now. I don't even come to Ohio as much as I used
23 to any more.

Kleist For Kids

I am tired of the bickering. Regardless of which side of the fence you are on, bottom line when you look at ODE's data, the school district could do a much better job of ensuring all students are proficient and meeting the needs of all students, from gifted to students with disabilities. Why hasn't the district met AYP for the last 3 years? Why do 42% (average for past 10 years) of Huron HS grads need to take remedial level classes in college? Why does the district only compare itself to other districts within Erie county? That is not setting the bar very high.

Please, someone needs to put the focus back on education. These are the types of things the school board should be addressing, but has not in the past nor presently.

I'm curious how many people making comments here have children in the district? Or how many of you have actually talked to the teachers or other employees of the district? The general consensus seems to be that they do not want Mr. Fox back. One teacher even said it would be like taking 3 steps backwards if he were reinstated. How effective could a leader be if he lost the trust and respect of his employees? How would this benefit the district?

I also find it appalling and fiscally irresponsible the amount of money that is being spent for a school board campaign. It is for a school board! I wonder how many teachers could have been sent for additional training in the Wilson Reading Program with the amount of money that has been spent on this campaign. Teachers only received 1 day of training, and this is not nearly enough.

I received a 4th flyer in the mail today, filled with propaganda based on partial truths at best. There are 4,369 registered voter households in Huron. At least $4,700 have been spent in just postage alone (based on $0.27 per piece postage, an estimate given to me by Loris printing when I looked into doing mailers), then add a conservative estimate of $1,800 for the mailers for a total of $6,500 for mailers that have been sent thus far. Thousands of dollars have been spent on yard signs. I estimate at least $10,000 has been spent for a school board campaign by the PAC! Why???? Is this fiscally responsible?

As a parent of children in the district, I implore you to vote based on the candidates’ qualifications rather than based on names, friendships, alliances, how long someone has been a resident of Huron, or who is related to whom. Voting based on anything other than a candidate’s qualifications leads to cronyism and a lack of both transparency and accountability. The future success of the district relies on voters electing qualified board members that have the skills, fortitude, vision and foresight to move the district forward and whose judgment is not clouded by friendships, alliances, vendettas, and personal agendas.

Paid for by Kleist For Kids. http://kleistforkids.com/

Informed

"Why do 42% (average for past 10 years) of Huron HS grads need to take remedial level classes in college?"

I don't know if that is true, or where that data comes from. Huron has no way to know what courses it's former students take in college. But regardless, I can answer it to some degree. The reason is that Huron HS pushes everyone into going to college, whether they are college material or not. No one tells these kids what is realistic given their abilities and aptitude. There are so many kids who go to college who have no business being there, and many of them flunk out or drop out after a year or so. Huron needs to encourage more vocational training.

Kleist For Kids

The data came from https://www.ohiohighered.org/dat.... My website http://kleistforkids.com/ has links to all the sources I used.

Paid for by Kleist for Kids. Apparently this disclaimer needs to be on just about everything, including free sites like facebook.

Informed

I would question how accurate that is. There is no way for any agency to know what courses kids are taking in college is they don't go to a state university in Ohio. Many Huron students go to private and out-of-state colleges.

Wa Tu Lo

The three clowns went after Fred because he is a corrupt person. Would you keep a person employed who steals taxpayers money,tools,extra marital affair on your dollar, turns in mileage to go visit his mistress,etc. There are many more corrupt things I could mention but I'll let the courts handle that. Fox and his friends are evil. They will look you in the eyes and lie right to your face. Lenny and Squiggy have done it many times at board meetings.

betweenlines

They went after Fred because two respected principals had the courage to say he wasn't doing his job. And then the rest of the dominos fell. Let's not forget the REAL reason this all got started.

Truth and Justice

Did anyone read the Fraud report recently posted on the PAC web site. Sent to Attorney General. Geez what next. Just when you think you've seen it all.

whazup

Nah, we haven't seen it all. As long as there are folks like you and your troop of Fox worshipers, there surely will be more come. Mud slinging is a sign of desperation. Personally, I would rather be accused of breaking a Sunshine Law than being investigated by the OEC for abusing my position as a board member. Wonder which of the two carries a larger penalty?

concerned huron...

Has anyone else noticed that Mike Tann is no longer treasurer of the PAC?