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.
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.