Overmyer dodges $324K question

Public records provided by Sandusky County court clerk don't explain her partnership with private company that got $324,000 for court work
Register
Mar 31, 2014

 

The Register asked Sandusky County clerk of courts Tracy Overmyer last week to provide a full and complete description of her relationship with a private company that received more than $324,000 from the county since she took office in January 2010.  

Team Ray Technologies, based in Bellevue, advertised itself as a "joint venture" with the clerk, but Overmyer has refused to respond to questions about her relationship with the company. 

Overmyer was sent a written inquiry on March 22, and again on Tuesday and Friday for information about the joint venture, and for copies of the contracts, bid requests and other public records related to the payments the company received from the county.

On Wednesday, Overmyer replied she would respond on Friday. But the documents she sent late Friday were not responsive to the request.

The six pages she provided are disjointed and all but void of information. 

• The first two pages — both containing the word proposal — are nearly blank and provide no information of substance. 

• The third page is titled “Contents,” listing only the “product,” “payment schedule,” and “sign-off form” with no descriptions of any substance.

• The fourth page is a “Payment schedule” that calls for four payments totaling $45,000. 

• The fifth page is a “change request form,” reducing a pricing plan from $80,000 to $70,000 and appears unrelated to the previous page. 

• The sixth and last page appears to be a paid invoice for Team Ray totaling $9,600, and also appears unrelated to the other pages of information Overmyer provided. 

Overmyer refused to offer an explanation for the disjointed documents she sent, or the contrast between the $324,000 Team Ray has been paid since she took office and the $9,600 paid invoice she did provide.  

The difference is about $314,000. 

Read the documents

— THEYRE IN THE MONEY —

It’s a “joint venture” with clerk of courts 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 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. 

The letter from Lynesky was sent to agents of Rockware Corp., one of numerous trade names the company uses.

 — CONTRACTED SERVICES? —

Overmyer and Team Ray Technologies CEO Ryan Ray apparently have an association that goes back years, but neither of them has offered an explanation about how their partnership was formed, or whether Overmyer is profiting by subcontracting out the court’s work to the company. 

Ryan Ray described the computer services LLC (Limited Liability Company) at the website as a “joint venture” with Overmyer, which is defined as a partnership of sorts and a for-profit endeavor. Public officials are prohibited from profiting from contractual service arrangements with private businesses. 

In the same promotional material, he also hawked the company’s services as having been developed by his family and Overmyer to program a case management software system “that did not have fixed maintenance costs that increase every year like other case management systems.”

A compilation of invoices provided by Sandusky County auditor William Farrell, however, shows Rockware billed the county on a monthly basis with invoices in increasing amounts since September 2010, seven months after Overmyer took office. 

That first payment, for $1,480, was for “County Court Special Projects,” according to the records Farrell provided. 

The last invoice from Rockware Corp. — for $44,520 — was paid March 3, 2014. The description for that payment is “purchase, contracted service,” according to the documents provided by the auditor’s office. 

Farrell said Rockware has various contractual relationships with various county departments. Overmyer was unable to provide contracts the clerk's office might have with the company.

It appears Overmyer has been farming out responsibilities the clerk’s office is required by state law to provide, including the court’s grand jury selection process. It’s not clear if the programming developed by Rockware addresses those requirements, or how the programming assures the fair and open provisions of the Ohio Revised Code are observed. 

Ray changed up the descriptions of his company at its website late Monday, after the Register first reported the claims he made about working with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, removing that reference entirely. 

He also removed the words “joint venture,” replacing that by describing it as a “pet project” his family and Overmyer developed to provide court administrative services. 

Ray did not respond to an inquiry sent to him Tuesday and early Friday.

Overmyer’s initial response was that she would respond later and late Friday she provided the disjointed paperwork.

Click here for related articles

Click here for 'Tainted grand jury' and other related articles

Read petition for removal of prosecutor, sheriff

Comments

EdO's

$ 324 K
Investigation pronto.
Good job Friends of Jake.
Good reporting San Reg.

Factitious

In the world of outsourcing, "joint venture," "partnership," and "profit sharing" are sometimes euphemisms for "kickback."

the office cat

"Good reporting" would require requesting financial documents from the county's financial office - the AUDITOR.

"Good reporting" would include asking the former Clerk of Courts who began the process in 2004 - current County Administrtor WARREN BROWN - who is running to be the next AUDITOR.

Or maybe ask the judges?

Left Sandtown

We want our Billon Back!Jack.Bless the Souls that steal from the hearts of the poor.

holysee

over quarter million...wow!
nothing to see here! please move along.
Could an IT professional weigh in on this?
Does it really take 324000 bucks to develop and implement what should be off-the-shelf software set-up?
Lots of stank coming from sandusky county.
Hey news mess, you can report something trivial on this now that the Sandusky Register has done your job for you!

the office cat

How about talking to the Court Administrator who ACTUALLY directs the development of the Jury Pools? The man who has worked with different software programs and how he feels about the present software?

Oh... that would be, uh, 'reporting'.

Or maybe a good reporter would talk to the Commissioners who had to approve the purchase and budgeting. But then, none of them are related to someone named 'Overmyer'.

Matt Westerhold

Office Cat, really, you don't have a clue what you're talking about. It's been eight days since this information was discovered, and and just three days since we received a response from the clerk's office. You have no idea how we continue to pursue this information, and your carping is way over the top. You're polluting the dialogue.

observer1

The level of corruption in Sandusky county never ceases to amaze me. Good job Register!

the office cat

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

red white and blue

In the words of woody from the toy story "Somebody has poisoned the water hole!"

Julie R.

I believe there's a law out there that states "when records are requested by subpoena from a financial institution, the records keeper of the institution is to send all records in order w/no pages missing within a certain amount of days .... and the records keeper is also required by law to sign an Affidavit under oath that all records have been provided and that all records are true & accurate."

Doesn't surprise me at all that the records keeper (Overmyer) from a public office in Sandusky County would get away with sending disjointed documents unrelated to the documents requested. Financial institutions are getting away with that illegal crap, too ...... in Erie County, anyway.

SeenSome

Your posts always begin with "I believe..or "I think there may be" as though you are not sure. Then you quote laws word for word. If you are sure of what you speak of say so.

Julie R.

I say "I believe" when I can't remember the number of the law but know there is one.

Thank you.

the office cat

I didn't see 'SUBPOENA' in this article... REQUEST.
I didn't realize the Clerk of Courts is a FINANCIAL INSTITUTION.

Did anyone ask the financial officer... aka AUDITOR or the former Clerk of Courts who began this process in 2004 - County Adminstrator Warren Brown.

Did we mention WARREN BROWN wants to be our NEXT auditor?

Julie R.

Unlike a financial institution, one doesn't need a subpoena in the Clerk of Courts when requesting records. I was just trying to get a point across. If the Records Keeper of a financial institution ~ when served with a subpoena ~ is required by law to provide all records in order with no pages missing, common sense alone would say the records keeper of a public office i.e. the clerk of court would also have to abide by that law.

FremontAlice

Whatever the Clerk does is authorized by the Commissioners. In most counties the Clerk works closely with the judges on IT. The State Auditor conducts regular and thorough reviews of all expenditures.

It's fun watching Matt and his Merry Band getting themselves so riled up, thinking they've really uncovered the smoking gun. I'll wait and see.

Matt Westerhold

We're glad you enjoy the Register Alice. But again, we're simply following up on the questions raised by members of the public. It's not accurate for you to suggest we're "riled up" just as it was not accurate in your previous and similar comments about our dispositon.

holysee

Sandusky Register, thank you for doing your job.

Restless1

You've made your point, now get off.

Babo

Critical phrases are:

1) "in most counties".

Yes, most counties follow the law, but in the instant case it does not appear the law was followed in Sandusky County. If the Commissioners authorized the expenditures there would be a record of that in their minutes.

2) "works closely with the judges on IT"

Yes, there is usually an IT committee or county IT position that works with the judicial branch on IT issues. Again, in this case, there doesn't appear to be any input from county officials including IT, the County Auditor, Judges and or Commissioners on a significant contract.

3) "The state auditor conducts regular and thorough reviews of all expenditures" This sentence is not entirely true. The State auditor usually conducts annual superficial audits and does not ordinarily question the legitimacy of an expenditure or contract unless it is brought to their attention or it's a rather obvious problem. Even then, the county prosecutor rarely acts on reports of illegal acts by county officials.

Examples: A) Cuyahoga County operated unlawfully for years and the State Auditor never questioned anything. However, Federal authorities convicted over 60 public officials (including the county auditor, a commissioner, 2 judges) vendors, and lawyers involved in illegal contracts and kick back schemes.

B) Ottawa County: The state auditor conducted a special audit to ferret out thefts by former Sheriff Bob Bratton. County prosecutor Mulligan didn't have a problem with the sheriff stealing public funds so the Feds prosecuted him and obtained a conviction.

There's stench enough to justify requesting the Auditor of State conducting a special audit and or the Ohio Ethics Commission conducting an investigation. When Stierwalt inevitably pulls a Mulligan, the Feds will likely pick it up.

the office cat

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

Ctwhalers

Fremontalice you sound like you real close to the corrupt With some of your comments. They have uncovered something. They are real good at this. What you seem to realize is I have seen lots of sandusky county people wanting to know this plus they seem to be swaying to our side. They finding out stuff they never knew and want it to stop.

the office cat

Please define 'lots of Sandusky County people' in terms of a percentage of the 45,000+ aged 18 and older in Sandusky County.

"our side"? Is that the purpose of the SR, to use their NEWS columns to 'sway' people to a side?

The Clerk of Courts does NOT approve the CoC budget. The CoC did not give 'first approval' to the Rockware expenditure. This began in 2004, not 2010.

Rockware did NOT selecte the Limberios grand jury - unless someone can prove they did. The Court Administrator used software approved by the COUNTY COMMISSIONERS.

Nick2405

I have to agree with fremontalice here. Do you really believe the county could spend almost a 1/3 of a million dollars without some checking going on? You are all nuts if you believe otherwise. Keep digging. I really dont know anyone involved on either side. But its funny to read all the people on here who think they know everything because of some research they did on google. The sandusky register thinks they are law office. Thanks for the laugh!

MiddleRight

That amount of money is small in the scope of a county audit. Why would they pay $44,000 in 1 month?

Jakes Dad

So what about the $$$, who thinks Ella got a real shot at finding out what happened to her daddy?

FremontAlice

Sorry, Jake'sDad. Jake and Ella are no longer the center of the story. The SR thinks it will sell more papers if it smears other people. Too bad.

Matt Westerhold

Alice, if you want to continue commenting then you will need to speak for yourself and not ascribe motives to anyone, including the Register, that are self-serving and inaccurate. 

FremontAlice

Let's see if I understand the rules here:

1. I will be banned if I ascribe motives to others which are self-serving and inaccurate;

2. Everyone else is permitted to call Sandusky County's elected officials corrupt, liars, thieves, and anything else they feel like, with impunity.

It's good knowing what the Sandusky Register thinks is fair.

Babo

People are permitted to critique Sandusky County elected officials because they choose to hold "public office" and work for the people. Criticism of government is the heart of the First Amendment.

Only someone who benefits in some way from inefficient or unlawful government actions would attack fellow citizens for exercising their right to criticize the government. Frankly, IMO your actions in defending county officials' lack of transparency and accountability are un-American.

FremontAlice

I'm unAmerican for openly expressing my opinion? Wow.

Just wow.

Babo

Your reading comprehension leaves a lot to be desired. It's not un American to express an opinion. However it is IMO, un American to attack others for expressing their opinions and or questioning the government.

You were not expressing an opinion but defending government officials' lack of transparency and accountability by attacking people for questioning or criticizing public officials.

holysee

Sandusky Register, thank you for doing your job.

Restless1

You've made your point, now get off.

chasf

i'm just glad she out sourced it, imagine the up roar if she had hand picked the special grand jury

Spy's picture
Spy

It sounds like to me that you have an agenda Alice.

the office cat

Jake's Dad... having shared your position elsewhere, I feel deeply for you. As a grandparent I feel VERY DEEPLY for Ella.

Unfortunately, the Register has utilized Ella to cast further aspersions on the 'questionable' government in Sandusky County and how money was spent while avoiding contact with the man who began it all in 2004.

Even IF the Clerk of Courts violated the law in not properly publishing that a Special Grand Jury would be impaneled, it's not going to overturn the action/inaction of the Jury or force Wukie to do his job.

Your petition is worthy (we signed it already and contributed) but will need more media support - without attacks. The facts of Stierwalt, the Sheriff and others is strong enough. But you're dealing with a Republican governor (Stierwalt is a DINO) who knows the local Democrats would fill his position if he's removed and might actually put in a qualified Democrat.

Ctwhalers

Nick it was not Googled up. I bet lots of phone calls where made to verify all of this.

the office cat

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

Ctwhalers

Fremontalice yes Jake and Ella still center of storys but we also including others in Sandusky county that have had wrong done to a family member. Plus register is not smearing others it is only reporting the truth. Was has the Fremont messenger done? Oh wait they take what register says then puts that then comes up with another story to go with it.

SeenSome

Why is it so hard to proof read your post before you send it?

holysee

lAUGH LOL LAUGH LOL!
Attack the messenger, not the message.
Which sandco official are you fremontalice?
Sandusky Register, thank you for doing your job.
The best guage of how good a job you are doing is to observe how many are upset by your reporting.
The more the charlatins complain about you doing your job, the more it is obvious that you are doing your job properly.
It's just like a cop arresting another cop for breaking the law.
Many won't like it, but it's what is SUPPOSED to happen.

Restless1

holysee: Are you employed by the SR? I think so by your many posts above.

the office cat

If 'the best GAUGE of how good a job you are doing is to observe how many are upset by your reporting'... I see only about a dozen here supporting. Even the 'usuals' are missing.

As Sgt. Joe Friday used to say "Just the facts, Ma'am"

Peninsula Pundit

To your point, as a 'usual' on these boards, I notice that YOU and FremontAlice are recent additions beginning with this story line.
Sgt. Joe Friday would disavow the local LEO around here and you know it.

Little Giant

FremontAlice seems to be in denial. If there is nothing to hide.....why hasn't Ms. Overmeyer been more forthcoming with the requested information? Seems like if she would have complied with the document request and there was nothing to hide this whole issue would be over. In addition, the fact that a Commissioner recently resigned to take another job and the fact that Ray Technologies changed their web page suggests that there is something to the story.

the office cat

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

FremontAlice

Geeez, Cat. Looks like Matt can't stand the heat. His answer to criticism seems to be hit the DELETE button. What a convenient way to avoid reasoning with facts.

For those who didn't see his post, (and who might see it before I get deleted / banned) he simply pointed out the large number of people and offices who were involved with the Team Ray relationship, and the times (well before the current clerk took office) involved.

Now the acid test: If Matt doesn't agree with what I say, do I get banned?

Probably.

Matt Westerhold

Geez Alice, you wouldn't even know about any of this information or what question might need to be asked if the Register had not pursued it. Now you and your Office Cat/Dog are salivating over the fact we haven't published followups to this information. You're being banned because you seem, obviously ... just insufferable. 

DickTracey

So, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore.

Jakes Dad

So do you think she did?