Update, March 28: It's a "joint venture" with clerk of courts Tracy Overmyer, or it's a "pet project" they wanted to build together.
Either way, a vendor used by Sandusky County Common Pleas Court has been paid more than $324,000 in less than four years since Overmyer's appointment to the court clerk's job in January 2010, according to records from the Sandusky County Auditor.
And Team Ray Technologies' Rockware Justice division also got called out by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Monday for "deceptive advertising" and for allegedly making "false claims" at its website about its services.
"The Ohio Attorney General requests that Rockware Justice and Team Ray Technologies LLC immediately cease from engaging in deceptive acts and practices by representing they have sponsorship, approval or affiliation with the Ohio Attorney General's Office," Sandy Lynesky, the AG's chief in the consumer protection unit, wrote Monday.
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Original post, March 25: The software vendor that claimed to have a "joint venture" with Sandusky County clerk of courts to subcontract grand jury work and other administrative functions of the clerk's office changed its website overnight Monday.
The modifications came after the Register reported objections expressed by a spokesman for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to statements on the website suggesting it had an affiliation with the AG's office.
References to a "joint venture" with Sandusky County clerk of courts Tracy Overmyer, and a reference the state AG's office both were removed. The modified version reads:
"Rockware Justice was started as a pet project in conjuction with the Sandusky County Clerk of Courts in 2004. The vision was to develop a case management software system utilizing the latest in technology that did not have fixed maintenance costs that increase every year like other case management systems. The software suite includes case management, judicial calendar, and cash book managing segments. After years of research and development, the system was successfully launched in April 2010." (See link to modified version)
The version of the statement prior to the objection from Ohio AG spokesman Dan Tierney reported by the Register on Monday read this way:
"Rockware Justice was started as a joint venture between the Sandusky County Clerk of Courts and Team Ray Technologies. Originally initiated to develop an affordable and user friendly Common Pleas Case Management System utilizing the latest technology available. The software suite includes a case management segment, judicial calendar, and cash book manager. The system was successfully launched in April 2010. Retail packages for Municipal and County Courts are being developed. Additional functionality is being added to integrate Rockware Justice with the Attorney General of Ohio and other state, local and third party agencies." (See link to original version)
Tierney said Monday that Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the AG's office had no affiliation with Team Ray or Rockware Justice, which is based in Bellevue.
"The Ohio Attorney General's Office intends to send letters to both Rockware Justice and Team Ray Technologies to cease their claim of affiliation with our office," Tierney wrote in reply to an inquiry from the Register sent to him Saturday. The Register asked Tierney to provide copies of those letters when they were sent.
The Register asked for any contracts, requests for proposals or other documentation that might exist that would provide a more complete understanding of that arrangement. The Register also asked for information about how the Rockwell programming is designed to meet the requirements of state law regarding grand jury selection.
On Feb. 18, the Register sent Overmyer a public records request for documents required by the Ohio Revised Code related to the grand jury selection process of the investigation into the death of Jacob Limberios on March 2, 2012. Overmyer initially responded that those documents were sealed under a secret gag order issued by the presiding judge, visiting judge Dale Crawford. She later told the AG's office she did not have any documents responsive to the request.
The Register sent an additional request to Overmyer this morning, and also asked Ryan Ray, CEO of Team Ray Technologies/Rockware, to provide more information about the relationship between his company and Overmyer.
DeWine filed a court motion last week asking Crawford to affirm the grand jury's fndings despite "procedural" mistakes he said might have occurred in the selection process, referring to an apparent violation of the requirements in the Ohio Revised Code. DeWine filed the motion after the Register reported Overmyer's inability to provide the required documentation.
The grand jury no-billed the investigation on Nov. 20, opting against filing any criminal indictments. DeWine said earlier this month he did not believe any grand jury would have returned indictments based on the evidence presented by his office. It's not clear why DeWine opted for a grand jury if there was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
DeWine's investigation determined Jacob Limberios accidentally shot himself, in contrast to the findings of Sheriff Kyle Overmyer, Tracy Overmyer's brother, and Sandusky County Coroner John Wukie, who ruled his death an accidental suicide. DeWine also determined that evidence was destroyed in the hours immediately after Jake was killed, and other evidence was not collected by Sheriff Overmyer, who was assisted at the home where Jake was killed by Captain Michael Meggitt, Tracy Overmyer's husband.
Wukie, who did not investigate Jake's death, refused to order an autopsy after he died. Wukie also has refused to correct the death certificate to reflect the findings of DeWine's investigation, insisting Jake's death was a suicide despite multiple witness statements that it was an accident and the suggestions from DeWine and others he was incorrect in his original suicide ruling.
Wukie refuses to respond to inquiries from the Register or return phone messages, and his attorney, Dean Henry, refuses to provide a working email address for Wukie.