Today, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters announced the referral of a State of Ohio Auditor report to a special prosecutor.
The report from the State Auditor concludes:
This investigative summary focuses on potential criminal violations by five individual members of the City of Cincinnati Council – – ALEXANDER PAUL GEORGE (“P.G.”) SITTENFIELD, CHRISTOPHER (“CHRIS”) SEELBACH, GREG LANDSMAN, TAMAYA DENNARD, and WENDELL YOUNG – -specifically, Dereliction of Duty, although the conduct described may constitute additional violations of the Ohio Revised Code. This report identifies evidence currently known and will be updated with additional information, if received. Based upon the results of the foregoing investigation, the Auditor of State, Special Investigations Unit, respectfully requests the Prosecuting Attorney consider prosecution of the named individuals for the following offense:
- Dereliction of Duty: From on or about January 19, 2018, until on or about March 24, 2018, P.G. SITTENFIELD, CHRIS SEELBACH, GREG LANDSMAN, TAMAYA DENNARD and WENDELL YOUNG, public servants serving as elected officers of a political subdivision, recklessly failed to perform a duty expressly imposed by law with respect to the public servant’s office, or recklessly did an act expressly forbidden by law with respect to the public servant’s office, to wit: took official action and conducted deliberations upon official business by a majority of the public body, outside of the requirements of the City of Cincinnati Charter and the Open Meetings Act which requires such actions to be done only in open meetings, such actions constituting the offense of Dereliction of Duty, in violation of Ohio Revised Code Section 2921.44(E), a misdemeanor of the second degree.
Both the Hamilton County Prosecutor and the Cincinnati City Solicitor petitioned the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas to appoint a special prosecutor as they have a conflict. Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Charles Kubicki appointed Patrick J. Hanley as the special prosecutor.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters commented, “I am glad that a special prosecutor will review this matter so that the public will have confidence that their elected officials are performing their duties in an honest and open manner.
Patrick J. Hanley, an experienced attorney, has been appointed by the court to handle this case. I have the utmost confidence in his ability to determine whether any charges are appropriate.”