Updated: Henry disputes quote

Attorney General declines comment on ethics complaint.
Register
Dec 26, 2013

Click video player at end of text to hear BCI interview with Sandusky County coroner John Wukie. 

The man fired as criminal prosecutor in the Jacob Limberios investigation wants proof statements from him published in the Register were accurate before he’ll offer further comment about an ethics complaint allegedly filed by the Ohio Attorney General.

“I told you that I will expand on my earlier comments as soon as you produce any evidence you have that supports prior statements attributed to me,” Henry wrote in an email to the Register on Monday, suggesting the Register “would be lying to its readers” if it reported he declined further comment.

Henry’s initial comment was “bullshit,” when asked about a reference to him in Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s report of his investigation of Jake’s death.

“Are you making that up, as well?” Henry asked in response to the the inquiry.

The Register did not make up the references in the AG’s report. Those specific references concern an interview conducted by Bureau of Criminal Investigation special agent Charlie Snyder with Sandusky County coroner John Wukie. Snyder’s report indicated the Oct. 10 interview had been delayed and Wukie raised several concerns.

Check at sanduskyregister.com for updates with the audio of Wukie’s interview when it becomes available. 

In one reference in Snyder’s report, Wukie seems unsure whether Henry can represent him as legal counsel during an interview. He told Snyder “because of possible conflicts in this capacity, Henry has requested the issuance of an opinion from the Ohio Bar Association,” Snyder’s report states.

In another reference, Snyder says Wukie wanted to know “why and how the Ohio Attorney General’s office filed an ethics complaint against attorney Henry.”

Henry told the Register he would expand on his “bullshit” comment after the Register provided him written or recorded confirmation of the quotes previously attributed to him. He suggested the quotes were inaccurate or taken out of context and the Register’s coverage of the Limberios story has been unfair and biased against public officials.

The quotes were verified by the reporters and editors and Henry has not provided a discernable basis for his concerns that would warrant a correction. 

Click here for story coverage and timeline

One quote concerned comments attributed to Henry after Dr. Cyril Wecht conducted an autopsy for the Limberios family. His concern was reported in this excerpt from a subsequent news article posted at sanduskyregister.com on March 5:

Henry became agitated when asked by a reporter in late January about Wecht’s autopsy. ‘They bought and paid for their expert... (and) they got the results they paid for,’ he stated. Henry called the reporter Jan. 29, the day a story containing the statement published and suggested it had been taken out of context because an ellipsis and parenthesis were used. The statement was not taken out of context, and Henry did not suggest what other contextual basis might have existed.

Henry did not appear to refute the statement on the same day he contacted the reporter with his complaint — Jan. 29  — when he responded to an email from Limberios family attorney Dan McGookey. 

“There will be no apology of any kind, public or otherwise,” Henry replied to McGookey’s demand he retract the statement. “I offer no apologies for telling the truth or stating facts.”

The other, more recent statement attributed to Henry he disputes was included in an editorial page column published Dec. 16. Henry appears to be acknowledging he said Dr. Wukie “has not had an opportunity to review the reports from the attorney general. (The coroner’s) investigation is still very much open.”

He refutes a portion of the column, however, that paraphrased that statement, suggesting it meant Wukie needed more time.

After a four-month investigation, DeWine’s office determined in November that Jacob’s death was the result of an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound. The investigation also determined the gun to be defective, with a hair trigger. Wukie, who ruled Jacob’s March 2, 2012, death a suicide, has not changed the death certificate.  

Henry was hired by the county in September 2012 to represent Wukie in a lawsuit filed by the family that seeks to have the death certificate changed. He does not appear to have invoiced the county for his services, however, since April.

An attorney with a private practice in Tiffin, Henry was appointed special criminal prosecutor in November 2012 by Sandusky County judges Barbara Ansted and John Dewey, but was later fired by a visiting judge who cited obvious conflicts of interests with Henry serving as both defense counsel and criminal prosecutor. 

He refused to comment or provide a timetable for when Wukie will make a decision about the death certificate. Henry also stated he does not have any public records related to an opinion from the Ohio Bar Association or the referenced ethics complaint, or any recent invoices for his services. 

DeWine’s office declined to provide information about the ethics complaint reference in Snyder’s report.

“Pursuant to Rule 5(11)(E) of the Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio, I cannot comment on possible referrals for discipline,” AG spokesman Dan Tierney stated, responding to a request for information from the Register.

Note: This post has been modified to include the entire text of the print edition. 

Click on the player below for the audio of Wukie's interview 

 

Comments

White Owl

Why is this story not attributed to a reporter? The story is poorly written and difficult to follow.

After reading it several times, it appears that the AG's office has filed either a Grievance with the Disciplinary Counsel of the Supreme Court or an Ethics Complaint with the Ohio Ethics Commission. It would be very helpful to readers to explain the nature of the grievance process for attorneys and the complaint process with the Ethics Commission and to find out exactly where the AG filed.

In any event, there's nothing to prevent the SR and readers from also filing grievances/complaints with the Disciplinary Counsel and or the Ethics Commission. Henry's failure to provide billing records is especially troubling.

Matt Westerhold

The story is a staff-driven compilation of information and made up of previous work from several reporters. It also contains information from an email exchange with Dean Henry in addition to references from the AG's report. I'm sorry you found it difficult to follow; there's a lot of ground covered in the story, including Henry's demand. We're unable at this time to explain the nature of the grievance or complaint process you suggest without either DeWine or his spokesman, or Dean Henry, providing information about it. The AG's spokesman appears to be suggesting the information, if it exists, is not public record. If that's the case, it might prove difficult to get any other information about it without the AG's or Henry's cooperation. The Register will seek more information. 

White Owl

Thank you for your explanation, but shouldn't the names of all the reporters who contributed to the story be credited?

I understand that the AG cannot explain the nature of the complaint or grievance because as an attorney and public official AG DeWine is bound by the Ohio ethics law (Ohio Ethics Commission) requiring confidentiality and the Supreme Court's rule (cited in the article) requiring confidentiality. What I am suggesting is that journalists and private citizens are not bound by these laws and rules and that you, your staff and many private citizens who have been offended by Dean Henry's alleged conduct, file grievances and complaints with the Disciplinary Counsel of the Supreme Court for legal misconduct (grievance form is available on line) and the Ohio Ethics Commission for alleged ethics misconduct. (Ohio Ethics Commission.

If those offices receive additional grievances/complaints from the public and journalists, it is highly likely the complaints will be certified and become public. An example of the power of the press in holding lawyers, judges and public officials accountable occurred in Cleveland Municipal Court concerning a Muny Court Judge after the Plain Dealer published an expose on alleged misconduct in the court.

Why don't you do a story on the attorney and judge disciplinary system or the Ohio Ethics Commission in this state and include the grievance form? I think the story would empower your readers to make a difference in the quality of justice and government in this area.

mikesee

'They bought and paid for their expert... (and) they got the results they paid for"

Sorry to tell the lynch mob but that is very typical when families can not accept the truth of something and they must hire someone. Basically, it is "a feel good" knowing that, although it may be wrong, someone agrees with them

Ithink

They wouldn't of had to 'buy an expert' had the CORONER of Sandusky County done his JOB and performed an AUTOPSY in the first place!!!!!! SICKENING!

mikeylikesit

alright, now you triggered my profanity filter. just kidding! i love it when you make these people squirm. keep it up.

Jmschmidt812

Mr. Henry just stop taking the calls. It doesn't matter what you say, you're not going to have the answers for this reporter. IMO this has been a one sided story from the get go. Where are the people who " gifted " this gun to this young man, who bought the ammo for him? Those people contributed to his death no matter the degree of significance. We haven't heard anything about that side of the story. It's like the bar being held partially responsible for the drunk driver who killed someone in an auto accident. Hold those folks responsible for their part in this whole ordeal.

mikeylikesit

I asked where the young man got a handgun and handgun ammo in this same forum around the time this tragedy took place. im no lawyer but I thought the age for handguns is 21?

mikesee

They need a way to sell papers.

Matt Westerhold

Newspapers routinely report about ongoing court cases, and yes, that does interest readers and likely is one reason they buy the paper. There's nothing wrong with a newspaper company, which is in the business of selling newspapers, selling newspapers. I'm not sure what your point might be?  It's like saying the Ford Motor Co. just wants to sell cars and trucks. 

mikesee

From the start all one sided and biased as Helsinki.

Jmschmidt812

Agreed

Sam

I think its fine that newspapers try to sell their product, what I disagree with is when they rehash the story line again and again to promote a personal agenda and bias.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks Sam. Most of the information in this article has not been reported previously. I'm not sure how your suggestions it is being rehashed can be correct.