Former Ottawa County sheriff charged with theft of funds

Former sheriff used money for personal items including Cedar Point tickets, clothing and prescription medicine.
Sandusky Register Staff
Jan 9, 2014


Robert Bratton, 60, of Genoa, Ohio, was charged in a criminal information with one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds.

Click HERE for a related story about a state audit in 2012

The former Ottawa County sheriff was charged with improperly using about $5,000 that was to be used for law enforcement purposes to instead pay for personal items including Cedar Point tickets, clothing and prescription medicine, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland office.

Read more about this in Friday's Sandusky Register




March 15,2012

Ottawa County prosecutor Mark Mulligan said Bratton will not be charged criminally because there were no clear guidelines governing purchases made with funds from the sheriff's furtherance of justice account.

Wake up Ottawa County! Get rid of your lazy prosecutor!!!


He is lazy! He picks and chooses his battles!! The more valid the case... The less likely he is to do anything! I don't know anything about Bratton, but a few of the other deputies are crap! I've tried dealing with Mulligan on numerous occasions and basically I was left helpless while the identity thief got away with ruining my disabled fathers already not so great life! I handed him everything he needed on a silver platter and he said no can do!


Mulligan says there were no clear guidelines put out as to how the grant monies were to be spent.

Yet the press release put out today by the United States Department of Justice: US Attorney's Office-Northern District of Ohio says:

The Ohio Auditor provided guidance to county sheriffs in 2007 under the heading “Permissable Expenditures of F.O.J. Funds.” It read, in part, that an “expenditure must be both in the performance of the officer’s official duties and in furtherance of justice to be allowable.” The bulletin also stated, “There is always the additional requirement that the expenditure must be for a proper public purpose,” according to the information.

So what is so hard to figure out Mr. mulligan?

Why did you not charge your friend Bratton with theft?

Why did the FBI have to come in to investigate?

Why did a US Attorney have to come in and do YOUR job?


Excellent comment!


In corrupt Ottawa County, OHIO, the powers that be do not follow Ohio laws nor do they follow instruction manuals as to how to do their jobs.

A cashbook is to be maintained to record all receipts and expenditures pertaining to the Furtherance of Justice (FOJ) Fund. This cashbook should include the date, description of the transaction, debit and credit columns, and a balance column. (See page 38) The Sheriff is to receive an advance not to exceed one-half of the Sheriff’s annual salary at the beginning of the fiscal year as provided by Ohio Revised Code §325.071. At the time the advance is received the initial deposit is credited to the account. All expenditures are then debited and documented at the time the money is disbursed. The Sheriff is to prepare an itemized annual report as to the manner in which the funds have been expended. This report is to be received by the County Auditor by the first Monday in January. Any funds remaining at the end of the fiscal year shall be returned to the County treasury. A reconciliation is to be performed monthly. See the instructions on page 14."


"So what is so hard to figure out Mr. mulligan?"
"Pot growing case tossed Appeals Court: Police manufactured evidence"
"In addition, the Prosecutor oversees the Ottawa County Drug Task Force, an agency that consists of three full time police officers, as well as assistance from police departments throughout the county. The job of the Task Force is to conduct investigations into drug trafficking in the county."

Three full time police officers is wasted on victimless crimes.

Here is an idea. How about giving all three police officers drug tests and also Mulligan. Then bring in the drug dogs to sniff out their homes.


What is it with LE and Cedar Point tickets. If you want to go that bad....just pay.


This gives the decent officers a bad name. Out of shape too.


Toledo Blade March 15, 2012

Mulligan says he doesn't believe Chief Bratton did anything criminal and the matter will not be presented to a grand jury.

Hey Mark, apparently the US Attorney and they FBI disagree with you!!

Is this just Mulligan being lazy or the good 'ole boys looking out for each other?


Seriously? SERIOUSLY? I'm not a lawyer. In fact, I'm not even a legal secretary! But I'm pretty sure it's patently obvious to anybody who's ever worked anywhere that spending office funds on personal stuff isn't okay!

If Mulligan actually adopted that attitude (and if he's quoted in the Blade, it appears that he did), then the only people less qualified for his office are the Ottawa County idiots who voted for him!


Don't they "owe" each other favors after what "they" did to Elsebeth Baumgartner?

The governed

Mark Mulligan should have his entire life picked apart by the federal govt along with all the crimes he has failed to investigate. Politics aside the reason Boss Hogg Bratton and Mark "Enos" Mulligan have escaped justice for decades now probably has to do with the protections they get from their party... They are an embarrassment to all honest Democrats.

Let's talk about the woman whom Mulligan let steal hundreds of thousands from an elderly woman.

the unsilent majority's picture
the unsilent ma...

Honest democrats.. you made me lol

Julie R.

Wasn't Mulligan and Bratton also involved in the case against the disbarred attorney, Elsebeth Baumgartner ........ along with the corrupt clowns in Erie and Cuyahoga County, not to mention Eeerie County's favorite rent-a-judge, the 90-year-old retired Cuyahoga County judge Richard Markus?

If so, what a small world. It's almost like karma is starting to slowly but surely come around full circle.


Julie R.,
I did an Ohio prison inmate check and could not find her name listed. If I recall correctly, she was supposed to be released in 2016 after serving 8 years. Here is the link:

Bratton is charged by the Feds and I cannot find Elsebeth Baumgartner listed in any Ohio prison. Will Bratton sing like a canary?


@Cent, she is out, 8-30-2013


Thank you for the information.

Julie R.

Elsebeth Baumgartner has been out of prison since August? I didn't know that. So how did she get out? I mean, we all know she never should have been there to begin with but how did she get released early? I'm sure that joke Cuyahoga County judge ~ better known as "lawmiss" ~ didn't release her early and I'm willing to bet no attorney helped, either. That's because most attorneys are too afraid to cross the good 'ole boys in the corrupt system. Nevertheless, if it's true that she's out, I for one am happy to hear it. I didn't know that lady but just reading about the case and what all those more than dirty snakes in the system (including Bratton & Mulligan) did to her infuriated me to no end.


She has a Facebook page, so you could ask her.


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).


Note that this is an Information, not an Indictment. This means that Bratton has already agreed to plead guilty to theft of federal funds, in exchange for reduced charges and that he is likely cooperating with the Feds against other public officials. It also means because it isn't a state charge that he gets to keep his state pension.

However, there is no reason why AG DeWine can't open a larger investigation into Bratton because the thefts reported in 2012 are well within the statute of limitations and obviously Mulligan obstructed justice in that matter at the time. Bratton needs to go to prison and not just some cushy fed county club but a state prison where he helped send a lot of innocent people.

I recall one of the very interesting items that Bratton used public funds to purchase were prescription drugs on the internet. Now that's a strange purchase for one big reason. Bratton has a state provided insurance plan and there is no legal reason to pay cash for drugs purchased from an on line pharmacy.

There are two reasons people buy drugs from internet pharmacies. One, they don't want to go to doctor and get a prescription for some drug that is embarrassing. Examples would include Viagra, Cialis etc. Two, the person is trying to obtain controlled substances illegally and avoid the reporting of the purchase to the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy and or their insurer.

In any event, there's a whole lot more corruption in Ottawa County than just this case and I hope the US Attorney, FBI and DeWine really pay attention when some people start to provide them with the information.

"The former Ottawa County sheriff was charged with improperly spending about $5,000 that was to be used for law enforcement purposes to instead pay for for personal items including Cedar Point tickets, clothing and prescription medicine, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland office."

"An information is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt."


Thanks for the link. It contains the names of the two assistant US Attorneys who are prosecuting the case. One of them, Antoinette Bacon was involved in most if not all of the Cuyahoga County Public Corruption cases.

Again, while the link states Bratton is entitled to a trial, an Information is only entered if the Defendant agreed to waive the right to an Indictment. One only does that if one has already worked out a deal in advance and is usually cooperating with the Federal government to go after bigger fish.

What goes around comes around.

red white and blue


danbury dad

This is what happens when elected officials are in office too long. The officials seem to think that they can do whatever they like with no consequences just because they keep getting elected. It is way past time that term limits must be in place for every elected office from federal to state to local government.


I can't disagree with you. The Founding Fathers had always intended elected office to be merely a time of SERVICE to one's country after which he would go home and go back to his usual livelihood. It's the career politicians that are the problem, for sure!

That being said, ANY politician can be "term limited" out of office if the voters don't vote for him. Sadly, the Founding Fathers ALSO assumed a reasonably educated and informed (hence the Freedom of the Press) electorate. If they got it wrong anywhere, I'm going to point right there!


Sheriff steals over $5,000 of Federal Grant money.........Mulligan does NOTHING!

Lady steals over $300,000 from an 82 year old........Mulligan does NOTHING!

Teenage boy tiptoes through Redferns yard......Mulligan arrests him and puts him in jail for 3 days!!!!


Our State Rep lives in an $845000 dollar home, which he doesn't even live in because he has a nicer home in Columbus. Huh? He had the neighbor kid arrested to make it appear like he lives there.


I look at that photo of Bratton holding up his right index finger. I could not resist by posting a link to a photo of Jimmy Dimora, another OHIO former member of Ohio's powers that be club.


Look at how the Port Clinton News-Herald reported the news on Bratton.

"The money Bratton repaid the county covered the funds he misappropriated and the special audit."

From what I have read, Bratton still owes money.


Sounds about right for Ottawa County.

I had one of my renters murdered and all the cops said/did was tell me the guy was a thorn in the Sheriffs backside. Never talked to the neighbors to ask if they seen anything or not...The murderer is still on the loose.

I also had people stealing scrap from me. When I came home one night their truck was sitting along side the road with a pile of scrap aluminum next to it. I wrote down the license plate and went home to call the cops. When the cops arrived the truck was gone but you could see their tracks in the snow where they were hiding. The first thing the cop asked me was if I seen the people, I said no as I did not see them. The cop then told me there was nothing they could do.

Ottawa county is about as crooked as they come and worthless also.


It's interesting that all the focus is on Sandusky County and botched death investigations in that county (justifiably so given recent cases) but that the problem of covered up homicides in Ottawa County is just as bad.

Perhaps you should bring your evidence to this newspaper to help get a federal probe of Sandusky, and Ottawa counties law enforcement.

I'm interested in your story.


Only the assured, as Ottawa's Departments are audited, "misappropriated funds" will become the "benchmark" in Ottawa County.


This guy sounds like the administration running the Ohio Veterans Home.




Anyone with half a brain knows better to charge personal items to a grant.How could someone think the auditors were not going to pick up on expenditures? That is why their are audits. Just because the sheriff paid the money back when he was caught, doesn't mean everything is okay.


Anyone with half a brain knows better to charge personal items to a grant.How could someone think the auditors were not going to pick up on expenditures? That is why their are audits. Just because the sheriff paid the money back when he was caught, doesn't mean everything is okay.


"Anyone with half a brain knows better than to charge personal items to a grant." True. Which means Mark Mulligan is apparently doing his job (or not doing it, as the case may be) with something LESS than half a brain. Remember: He didn't see anything wrong with it when it was originally brought to his attention!

The governed

I am curious what that dollar amount of mis appropriated (stolen) funds comes out to when Mark Mulligans office is investigated.

Ottawa county has at least been consistent with sheriffs going to jail after leaving office, great example for the kids OCSO.


Same guy that wanted to charge for ice rescues? buy more Cedar Point tickets?

"Ohio Auditor Dave Yost ORDERED Bratton to repay $7,200 to the sheriff's office. Said Yost: “This shopping list is just incredible. The taxpayers’ belts are already tight — they shouldn’t have to pay for his belt too.”

Yost ORDERED Bratton to pay back the funds? Bratton would not pay back the funds voluntarily?

How much did the special audit cost? Did Bratton pay back the cost of the special audit?


Bratton chalked up the mistakes to sloppy bookkeeping.
“You bet your butt I made mistakes,” Bratton said. “I’m embarrassed about it. I’m sorry about it."

Bratton is only sorry because he got caught. He did have the Ohio Sheriff manual to guide him on bookkeeping requirements. No excuse for sloppy bookkeeping.


Here's Mulligans quote from the paper edition.

"I thought the mistakes were innocent. He returned the funds. The matter was over. I still have the highest level of respect for Bob Bratton."

So if I walk out of Kohls with an arm load of clothing that I didn't pay for, and loss prevention taps me on the shoulder, it's ok, as long as I fold all the clothes and put them back where they belong?!

If you ask me, Mulligan owed Bratton a huge favor.


Actually they owe each other huge favors, much like the system in Cuyahoga County.

What bothers me is the fact that Auditor of State provided the guidelines on the use of the funds and included the additional language the expenditures must be for a public purpose. The public purpose requirement has been part of Ohio Public finance law for decades.

Yet when anyone brought illegal public expenditures to the attention of Mark Mulligan or former Sheriff Bratton the evidence was ignored and the people complaining were vilified or even criminally charged for reporting it.

A recent example of expenditures that weren't arguably for a public purpose but to advance a political payback (our local version of the G. W bridge) is the abuse of public resources by Mulligan at the request of Rep Redfern to indict and incarcerate a young man for what was at best a misdemeanor case of trespassing.

An older really egregious example of misuse of public resources and power was the indictment of the editor of a local blog for publishing proof that a school official in Ottawa County had lied under oath about illegal expenditures in the school system. Not surprisingly the school official and other school employees and officials allegedly involved in the illegal expenditures were political supporters of Mulligan and Bratton. In other words campaign donations (pay)to not get indicted for stealing public funds.

"Anthony said, “A sheriff who chooses to ignore his sworn oath to uphold the law and engage in criminal behavior is totally unacceptable. The FBI will investigate those who violate the public’s trust, no matter what position that individual holds.”

"In 2010, Bratton used approximately $2,865 in FOJ Fund cash and also used a credit card linked to the FOJ Fund to purchase various personal items, including Cedar Point tickets, prescription medicine, and clothing, all of which were non-permitted expenses under FOJ Fund rules and regulations, according to the information."

"The Ohio Auditor provided guidance to county sheriffs in 2007 under the heading “Permissable Expenditures of FOJ Funds.” It read, in part, that an “expenditure must be both in the performance of the officer’s official duties and in furtherance of justice to be allowable.” The bulletin also stated, “There is always the additional requirement that the expenditure must be for a proper public purpose,” according to the information."

Where are the state (OHIO) charges for misuse of a credit card?

Here is a clue for Mulligan:


****** ATTENTION FBI ******
"The prosecutor, however, offered up $15,000 from the office’s Furtherance of Justice Funds as well as $23,000 from the elimination of a part-time employee position to the commissioners. He suggested the money be put toward one-time bonuses for the county workers."

Bonuses using Furtherance of Justice Funds for non-union employees.

Ottawa County Sheriffs Office FOJ Fund
Report Type:Special Audit
Release Date:03/13/2012
Report Period:01/01/2008 to 09/23/2011


@Cent , thanks for the link. It is quite an interesting read. It shows Bratton repeatedly using the funds for personal use. There is over $16,000 that Bratton "says" was used for food and dining, but did not have one receipt to back up his statements! Also, there was to be written guidelines and limits on food and Bratton did not do this! In other words, this could have included grant money used for beer, wine and liquor purchased during these meals.

There was close to $1,900 in gift card purchases, but no receipt or evidence as to who received these cards and why.

Just as the Cedar Point passes, Bratton, AFTER he was caught, told investigators that he bought the passes to be used as reward for employee of the month. But the investigators tracked down and questioned the holders of the free passes, they were not even employees of the county!

This was not a case of "messy or sloppy book keeping" , because there was NO book keeping on this money!

Interesting to note, that when Bratton started, the Sheriff prior, left rules guidelines and book keeping for how to use the monies from the grant. Bratton chose to not follow these, or even make new ones.

There is a big difference in the severity of the theft, when you read through this report. There is much more to it than the newspaper prints. $1,392 worth of prescription medication mailed directly to the sheriffs house!?

The governed

What is really sad about this is that when a crime is reported to the Ottawa county sheriff or Mark Mulligans prosecutors office even today. They will tell you that there is nothing they can do in most cases, unless they have an axe to grind. These organizations will claim they don't have the resources. The same resources the sheriff, deputies, and prosecutors are stealing them from the public themselves. It's time to investigate and clean house, although this will never happen. Most of these folks are also double dippers as well.

The governed

The port clinton news herald is nothing more than a propaganda machine for the real crooks of Ottawa county.


Agreed. Boy what the Ottawa County Register (Sandusky Register's Ottawa County edition) could uncover if it had a real investigative reporter.


You are correct. When Elsebeth Baumgartner tried to expose the corruption in corrupt Ottawa County, OHIO many years ago, the powers that be used the Port Clinton News-Herald to discredit Baumgartner and foster public disdain against her. The sheeple of Ottawa County (OHIO) bought into it.

Karma came and now the PCNH has lost readership. I feel that the Fremont News-Messenger will be next for protecting the crooks in corrupt Sandusky County, Ohio. Both newspapers will go out of business in a few years. A new multi-county newspaper will arrive within 5 years.

I have a lot of confidential information that I will not divulge due to my confidentially agreement. After speaking with a few people, I can say this. Not all super rich people are crooks and there are some who are on the side of truth and are fed up with corrupt Ohio. Another newspaper is in the works to put the Sandusky Register out of business within the next 5 years. My understanding is that it will be both a print and online version. I also understand that it will not happen if the Sandusky Register decides to reverse course and report only truthful news and not hold back on hidden truth about the powers that be.


The FBI raid in corrupt Cuyahoga County (OHIO) got its start a couple of years before the actual raid that involved about 200 FBI agents from out of state.

Some official FBI news about corrupt Cuyahoga County, OHIO:


It is not over for corrupt Cuyahoga County (OHIO). Deals are still being made and those in prison are starting to spill the beans.

If I were the Ottawa County (OHIO) prosecutor Mulligan, I would have some Depends (adult diapers) nearby. He will be needing them. Bratton is small fish. I am told that Bratton has already spilled the beans.

Small fish were used for that 200 FBI agent raid on corrupt Cuyahoga County (OHIO) a couple of years prior before the raid.


There is a reason why some were released early from the Federal prisons. Deals were made for early release after the beans were spilled to go after the big fish.

The prison sentence was used to soften up the offenders to spill the beans.


The similarity of the two counties is that both are heavily democratic. So you have these Democrats that keep winning elections, giving them big heads! They didn't win because they are talented, intelligent or worthy of the position, they won because they have a "D" behind their name on the ballot.

But they get in office and start milking the benefits and kick backs and then they achieve their "rock star mentality" and think they are invincible! That's where all the problems start.

When Mulligan reads your post, he will not be worried, he will be honored and proud, that you called him one of the "big fish".

If you have ever talked, (or tried to) to Mulligan, he is very self serving, arrogant and cocky. You stand there, and in your head think, is this really Port Clinton, OH? Because this guy thinks he is in the White House! He truly believes he is invincible, and can not be taken out.

Oh, the times they are a changin'.


Perhaps I should have stated that Mulligan is a medium size fish which he is. He will snitch on his fellow OHIO county prosecutors once the time comes.

The governed

Their is defiantly a patern here that needs to be broken up. Without doing homework I can remember in recent history an ottawa county sheriff protecting an organized crime ring (Hetrick) Bratton stealing, sheriffs captain Martin buying equipment from his own supply company, Levorchick and Hickman double dippers, port Clinton fire chief and safety service director stealing scrap metal from the waterworks. This list could go on and on.

As anyone will tell you if you want to commit a crime, do it in Ottawa county.


If Mulligan is deprived of sleep (he should be), I recommend a pint of Kessler's Whiskey.

Reminder to Mulligan. You may want to wear Depends all day long. You will not have prior knowledge when the time comes.


Where in the heck is attorney Buff's opinion?

"Visiting Judge Richard M. Markus sentenced former Fairfield County Sheriff Gary K. DeMastry to 6 years in prison today. Judge Markus also sentenced the former Sheriff's wife and a former Deputy Sheriff, Penny DeMastry, to 2 1/2 years in prison, pursuant to a plea agreement with the special prosecutors. Both Gary and Penny DeMastry were ordered to begin the sentences immediately."


Interesting that Judge Markus hammered one Sheriff in Southern Ohio while he went really easy on government officials in Northern Ohio. He really gets around.

"He was accused of spending taxpayer money on things like personal meals, travel and entertainment."


I want a front row seat as these indictments begin. OC tried to silence me prior to my retirement.....
Hmm...I lawyered up! (out of town atty)
They backed down...go figure?


Sounds like a lot of people in Ottawa County need to get together and compare notes.


Google "Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association"

Why is there little transparency in how FOJ funds are spent? Blame the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association for blocking audits.
Toledo Blade (April 13, 1979)
"In Richland County, we have been stopped from looking at these funds...Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association is a party to a lawsuit seeking to keep that county's funds from being audited"
Toledo Free Press (July 2012)
"The FOJ is funded by local tax revenue. Officials are free to use the allowance how ever they choose as long as they deem their purchases necessary to perform official duties and “further justice,” according to the relevant statute."
"Some within the Prosecuting Attorneys Association are not happy."
"It’s vague and wide open and I would prefer to keep it that way,” said John Murphy, executive director of the association. “The prosecutor is an elected official and is responsible for what he’s doing and if he’s not using the money properly he can be thrown out of office.”

Notice Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates.
Here is how she made a list of how DOJ funds were spent:
Here is how Julia Bates spent DOJ funds during 2011.

Richland County is very corrupt. Read the book(s) titled "Rotten To The Core" by Martin Yant.
In this updated and greatly expanded version of the popular book Rotten to the Core, Martin Yant recounts his battle in Mansfield, Ohio, to expose::
*A brutal, corrupt sheriff.
*A coroner who stole from the dead and jeopardized the lives of the living at his medical lab.
*A foundation that promoted the personal and prurient interests of Sammy Davis Jr. and Mansfield's elite, then folded minus millions of dollars.
*City officials who openly dispensed favors.
*Judges who looked down upon those they passed judgment on through stolen eyeglasses.
*A prosecutor who ignored all of this and often sought to discredit those who tried to stop it.
*A newspaper that not only ignored the corruption, but was actively involved in it.


In the distance, I hear the hum of document shreaders from the Ottawa County offices. Could it be from the prosecutor's office?

The governed

Mark Mulligan would never destroy or manufacture evidence... Lol.

He does it all the time.

It took him two years to prosecute a local drug dealer and his girlfriend for killing her baby, mulligan is close to the family.


"Bratton allegedly charged $1,356 in medication, $2,438 in gift cards, and $5,061 in cash withdrawals. Sheriff’s office records were able to account for only $504 of Bratton’s expenditures."

"Bratton is also charged with knowingly failing to reimburse and replace all of the FOJ fund money he illegally used."

"Watching your tax dollars: Funds pays for steaks
Furtherance of Justice funds spent by county sheriffs, prosecutors with minimal oversight.


I posted some links and some of those links have links to other information.

I didn't have time to check but how many of the crooks mentioned misused DOJ funds members of certain political party?

I am still awaiting attorney Buff's take on all of this.