Baxter needs integrity probe

Matt Westerhold
Mar 23, 2010

Fired Sandusky police Chief Kim Nuesse's civil service hearing is a dog-and-pony show costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter is the dog, and retired judge Joseph Cirigliano is the pony.

There are so many aspects of this hearing that need to be explored, beginning with the statement Baxter gave to the Murman investigators. The good prosecutor acknowledged 11 "inaccuracies" after the Register began questioning him about discrepancies in his statement back in June. He likely never would have scurried back to make the corrections if the newspaper had not called him out, because nobody would have known how much Baxter got wrong in the story he told.

And the corrections aren't really corrections. Baxter just scratched out some information and scribbled some notes in the margins of the report, in an incredibly unprofessional manner. And the inaccuracies -- as Baxter calls them -- aren't really inaccuracies; they are straight out lies. If you ask me.

Let's try to take a look-see

Baxter detailed a meeting he had with Nuesse, then-U.S. attorney Greg White, U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott and local law enforcement officials. He said he, White and Elliott educated Chief Nuesse on proper procedures during that meeting, but other meeting participants offered starkly different recollections. The Murman investigators did not bother to interview some of those witnesses to get an accurate description of the meeting, but we did.

Elliott told the Register Nuesse was not the target of that meeting. "We met so we could better coordinate our efforts," he said. "We wanted to find a way to do things better, and we accomplished that goal."

Oops. Baxter scratched that part of his statement, correcting his "inaccuracy."

Baxter told the Murman investigators that assistant county prosecutor Mary Ann Barylski was the gang expert in Erie County, even though he adamantly maintains there is no gang problem. But when the Register asked what qualified Barylski as the expert, whether she ever filed a court case with gang specification charges, or whether she had any other credentials that would qualify her as an expert, Baxter did not respond.

Oops. Baxter scratched that part of his statement, correcting his "inaccuracy."

Baxter said he never talked with Nuesse about whether youth violence in the county was gang-related. Oops. Erie County Juvenile Court Judge Robert Delamatre and Sandusky High School principal Dan Poggiali both testified Baxter attended a meeting where the topic was discussed. The results of the meeting were good.

"We changed some procedures, and the changes we made were effective," Delamatre told the Register in June.

Oops. Not sure whether Baxter included this one in the incomprehensible "scratch it out and scribble" corrections he made to the Murman report.

But now Baxter says he wasn't even at the meeting. He said Delamatre, who testified about the meeting at last week's hearing, "must be confused." The judge is mis-remembering, according to Baxter -- which means former Sandusky Schools assistant superintendent John Kaszonyi must be confused as well, because he testified about the meeting and said Baxter attended.

Baxter called reporter Jason Singer on Thursday and offered evidence he said was proof positive he wasn't at the meeting in question: A receipt from a Columbus hotel bearing the date of the meeting, Nov. 30. Baxter said he couldn't possibly have been at that meeting, and the receipt proved that.

Friday, he had the city's legal team introduce the receipt as evidence at the Civil Service hearing.

We checked. Baxter registered at the hotel at 4:45 p.m. that day. The meeting took place early that morning. That's one shoddy standard of evidence.

Dogging on Nuesse

Baxter said Nuesse told Delamatre she wanted to use the Sandusky Police Department's canine unit to conduct surprise searches for weapons at Sandusky High School. That's not what Delamatre testified to, however, and there was no SPD canine unit at that time.

Oops and oops.

Baxter testified he made the corrections to the Murman report because he wanted to "help Kim Nuesse" and make sure whatever decision city manager Matt Kline made about Nuesse's employment was based on the best, most accurate information.

Whew. That's rich. He wanted to help Nuesse, he said, so he made incomprehensible corrections. Less than 10 days later he advised Kline that Nuesse should be fired for her lack of integrity and her inability to get along with him and play nice.

Baxter's problem here, in my opinion, is that he lied to the Murman investigators, which resulted in his inaccurate statement. He never expected anyone to challenge him, and he never expected the newspaper would so aggressively pursue the truth.

When he testified at the hearing last month, he said there were 11 inaccuracies in the statement but under cross-examination by Nuesse's attorney, K. Ronald Bailey, he acknowledged additional "discrepancies."

I wish I could list each and every one of them here for you, but the corrections are incomprehensible ... just incredibly unprofessional scratch-outs and notes in the margins.

And I wish I could provide more information from his testimony, but Baxter refused to allow it to be videotaped, and Cirigliano -- without explanation -- ordered that the Register's microphone be moved away from Baxter before he began his testimony. That rendered the audiotape of his testimony difficult to hear and difficult to understand.

Man, this is one slippery dude

In most parts of the state, giving false statements to an investigator is illegal under the Ohio Revised Code. That state law does not appear to apply in Erie County, however, because not a single public official has expressed outrage concerning Baxter's "inaccurate" statements.

I have concerns.

It's troubling when the de-facto top law enforcement officer in the county is not held accountable for misstatements and falsifications. He should be. Baxter should be forced to thoroughly explain how he could get so much so wrong. An independent prosecutor should be named "to help Kevin" explain and to determine whether Baxter should be charged.

This independent prosecutor also should review whether Baxter committed a crime when he changed the Murman report. Witnesses -- and that is Kevin's only official role here -- do not have the option to change their statements after the fact. They can confer with the investigators and ask for corrections, or write an addendum and ask that it be added to the file, but they do not have access to simply change an investigative report.

Kevin's effort to correct the record could be the only time a witness was ever given that kind of carte blanche freedom to backtrack.

What's good for the gander should be good for the goose. It's an integrity probe, after all. Kim Nuesse has met the standard. Kevin Baxter has not.

And there, you have it.

Comments

Anonymous

As I recall, Martha Stewart did a stretch in the Federal joint for telling a lie or two to the FBI about her stock trades. She was not convicted of any other crime. She served the time. Get ready Mr. Baxter.

Anonymous

Thank You Matt Westerhold and the SR for keeping the truth out front.

Anonymous

We are looking forward to the day that Kevin will be locked up for eternity. He is a hard core criminal who has destroyed many innocent peoples lives. His day is coming.

Maybe someone should file a complaint against him with the Ethics Commission or the Disciplinary Counsel. Either way, he needs to be investigated and criminally charged.

Anonymous

You say:An independent prosecutor should be named "to help Kevin" explain and to determine whether Baxter should be charged. Well, OK, I am all for it. How do we get started??

Anonymous

Just because YOU think there should be an independent investigation doesn't mean it HAS to happen. You may be god in your world but you're just a small time editor on a piece of crap newspaper staff.

Anonymous

It won't be long now! Bye Bye Kevin! Your lies have finally caught uo with you!

Sam

Westerhold questioning anyones integrity, priceless.

Anonymous

I do not know Kevin Baxter personally, but I do know who he is. I also do not know Mary Ann Barylski, but again, I know who she is. The reason I do not know these people is that I never done anything in which to be prosecuted by them or anyone in their office. So many seem to have hateful views of these two and their office, but probably because they had prosecuted them or some family or friend. If, and it is a big If, Kevin did something wrong, then indeed he should answer to the allegatons of Matt Westerhold. But............ How does anyone really know these allegations of the Sandusky Register is actual. Over the last several years, the integrity of this newspaper has dropped down to just one rung above the "National Inquirer", "The Star" and "The Globe". All sensationalistic print magazines. You would only get the news as what Ruppert Murrdoch wanted you to read. That is the line this newspaper and I use that term loosely, has chosen to follows. Sensationalizm in the place of real hardline news. Long gone are the days of William Randolph Hearst, who brought the "News" to people, and only the news. Long gone are the days when a newspaper, in the name of "news" would only print what they could prove, without slandering someone who does or does not believe what the editor wants you to know. I know to only believe no more than 40% of what this newspaper and its editors print. The reason is that these so- called news people are trying to swing the general populas to read and know only what the paper wants you to read and to know. This is so very true by the blogs no only on this site, but many others who slander the name of someone, without regard to the real "truth". The truth, as this paper wants you to know, is more of their own idea. How very sad. And what is even more sad is that so many of you really believe everything that is printed in this paper and these blogs. So many people who claim to know that Kevin and his people are liars, cheats, and so on, but I doubt if anyone really knows him or some of the things this paper and this editor is tryhing to get you to believe. Again, if someone has tangible proof, and only tangible proof, then something should be done. But, again, the truthfulness of the editorial staff of this once good paper, only wants the general public who read this paper and these blogs, to believe only what they want you to believe. Some propaganda huh.

The good people of Sandusky should be outraged, that this paper would stoop to thest tactics instead of giving actual news, slander is not news.

Anonymous

I agree with just about everything you have stated except that I think a 40% accuracy percentage in the "truthfulness" department is much too high. And if Mr. Westerhold contrived it, I would probably say that it is a monumental fabrication.

Anonymous

you are right about the percentage being to high. thanks for your comment. I was just hoping........... but we are talking about the register

Anonymous

OK....I do not know Kevin Baxter personally either but I do know who he is. The reason I do not know Baxter personally is because I have never done anything in which to be prosecuted by him or anyone in his office. I also do not have any family or friends that have ever been prosecuted. In fact, I don't personally know ANYBODY that has ever been prosecuted.

But I still have a very hateful view of Kevin Baxter and the entire dishonest and unethical Erie County judicial system.

I also want to mention that everything Matt Westerhold has printed about Baxter and this County is the TRUTH---- double standards and working for their own agendas is only a small part of it. So continue to live in your dreamworld and hope you never become a victim of this stinking county because, believe it or not, this County is CORRUPT with a capital C.

Anonymous

File a complaint with the Ethics Commission in Columbus, Ohio, or file a complaint with the Disciplinary Counsel.

Anonymous

you must be westerhold. He thinks he is god more then Kevin

Anonymous

Very nice blog and I totally agree. There are way too many hateful people that blog in these stories. As you stated, ALL stories not just Nuesse stories. I have seen so much hatred coming from the things that the SR prints it sickens me. SR and Westerhold seem to THRIVE on hatred. It is unbelievable. It upsets me to know that I live among so many hate filled people in this town. Thanx for the sensible blog. Nice to see for a change. Speaking of the TRUTH...you did well.

Anonymous

Considering how you say it sickens you to read so much hatred coming from the things the SR prints may I suggest a simple remedy for your illness? DON'T READ IT!

Anonymous

Hi, I want to give you some hints and see if you can guess who I am....I am the editor of a hick-town newspaper. Everyday I accuse high profile cops, politicians and who ever else I can try and bring down with my childish accusations that no one obviously cares about. I sit here in my cubicle and degrade Lt. Phil Frost, A.C. Charlie Sams, Brian Baxter and also the very judge that I was SUPPOSED to face. I brag about how I am so popular that I was the ONLY one subpoened by the Nuesse "Dream" Team, as well as, the City. Yet I could not find the stones to actually testify. Which means I can continue to hide in my cubicle and not have to really face the very people I slander. I also have this little schoolboy crush on Kim Nuesse, who under any other circumstance wouldn't give me a second look. Somehow I feel like people like me or at least thats what I tell myself in the mirror everyday. People come on this paper's web site and blast me, but I somehow believe its because they respect me, not because they see the kind of person I am, which is a spineless, whimpy, no-talented, worthless "person". Also, since I said I would be tesitfying and for whatever reason didnt..I am sure people who supported me in the past will still log on and make excuses for me. Mind you all these "people" are usually me, 'cause I mean c'mon who else would....I will continue to blast people from the confines of my cubicle...and my parents basement...and run and hide when called out, anyone wanna take a guess as to who I am????

Anonymous

You say Baxter is lying? What about you getting on here a while back and saying you would be testifying??? Where u at Matt?? Scared to be confronted?? If you were subpoened and didnt testify, isnt that contempt of court? is there now a warrant for you Matt??? Hmmm??? Interesting!! Even that wortheless Frankowski testified Matt....youre such a toad...

Anonymous

I have so many times belived that someone from the Register, if not the editorial staff themselves, write most of these blogs, especially all the nasty negative ones. The reason I believe this is because with so many people saying all these things, seems to only enhance the interest in this once proud newspaper. How do they get back their readers........write something very nasty about a public figure, regardless if the blogs are true or not. After all, it looks as if there really is interest in what is printed in their paper......even if it is only their employees. Again, how sad that this newspaper left the idea of actual news (people are sooooo very tired of all this negative writing)and they focus only on the bad. That is what really sells their papers after all.

So very sad for this city. This city really can be so much more. This paper can really be so much more.... but only if the editorial staff and owners want to put out a good newspaper.

outsider

Matt keep writing the TRUTH about these crooked people in office. Eventually, the citizens will get off their A__'s and throw the criminals out. Kevin Baxter, Tom Ferrell, Bimbo Bill Monaghan, etc.

Anonymous

Yet another useless comment. Don't read it? I would think that I would be able to pick up my hometown newspaper or read the stories online without having to look at moronic stories/blogs like yours. Don't read it??!! Geeez, what an answer to the problem. Thanx for proving my point...genius, greatly appreciated.

Anonymous

do you believe Elsebeth???????????????

Anonymous

I would love to see local celebrity boxing matches!!! First match: Matt Westerhold vs Kevin Baxter. What fun during our long, cold winter! This could raise a little extra cash for area services too!!! Come on, who wouldn't love to see Matt beat the truth out of Kevin???? hahahahahahhaah

Anonymous

Your days are numbered!!! It seems important people are on to you!!!!

Anonymous

No, I don't believe Elsebeth. Never did, never will. She isn't even worth the time to write this blog

Anonymous

I wonder what it takes to get a job writing for the SR?? Matt Westerhold writes one editorial a month and if his only audience were people who dont know the truth, he could convince everyone that he is telling the truth. However, his editorials are full of lies and he never responds to blogs like this that call him out. You have to believe that his anger comes from jealousy...I mean look at the people he is trying to slander. Prosecutors, Lts and Asst. Chiefs, City Managers, I am guessing he is jealous that their jobs actually contribute something to society. I mean isnt Matt's job really just someone trying to tattle tale on others? Mommy, Mommy look what Brian did or Teacher, Teacher look what Charlie and Phil are doing...then like im sure it was when he was younger Matt goes and hides in his closet, or in this case his desk. I guess you showed Baxter, Sams and Frost huh Matt?? Judging from the amount of people who are getting tired of reading this propoganda you spew, it looks like most people are getting tired of you. It has been said that Gary Frankowski became a cop to get back at people who use to pick on him for carrying a brief case to school and wearing a pocket protector, i have also heard that Gary could not do anything to a criminal unless he had 5-6 other cops around to back him up. So Matt, you fit in the same category as Frankowski, how proud your parents must be...

Anonymous

Once again you use the "I have heard" phrase in your nonsensical spewing of hate. You don't know anything about this case so why use that phrase. If you have to rely on third party innuendos to believe then you are really a sorry person. Do your own homework and dig up the truth instead of letting others lead you around by the nose. When this hearing is finished you will really know that what Nuesse has been doing is for the betterment of the citizens. The four people, Sams, Frost, Baxter, and Kline are not worth anyones attention. They all are lieing cheating people who do nothing for this city. When she wins this case I hope she gets her job back and fires both Sams and Frost and the city commissioners fire Kline for his less then truthfulness and the fact he cannot be believed, as he liked to say. Oh and you can say bye bye to the MD project as this city is going to have to pay more then the insurance coverage after she sues them.

Anonymous

Tell the truth Kevin.

Anonymous

Baxter doesn't know the meaning of the word "truth".

Anonymous

Only an idiot would believe anything that Elsebeth said.

Anonymous

Tattletale on others? It's called reporting the news. Slander? You mean like the lies in the Murman? People aren't getting tired of his reporting. They ARE getting tired of Baxter & the Murman Report's lies. I enjoy Matt calling them out. He's good for Sandusky. You can't say that about Baxter & his cronies. Well, you could, but you'd be delusional.

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