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.