United Kingdom

Jail sentence imposed on mayor of Wapak

1667105414 yahoo default logo 1200x1200

October 30—WAPAKONETA—Tom Stinebaugh, the former mayor of Wapakoneta, was found to have broken the law by using his position for personal gain.

After an Auglaize County jury deliberated for more than eight hours over two days and ultimately found guilty of five of the 11 charges filed against Stinebaugh by the Ohio Attorney General’s office, Judge Patricia Cosgrove on Saturday’s visit sentenced the former mayor to 18 months in prison.

Stinebaugh, who can no longer hold elected office as a convicted felon, remained out on bail after defense attorneys announced they would appeal the verdict and sentence.

Football Highlights

After four days of testimony, Friday afternoon the jury began debating the 11 misdemeanor and misdemeanor charges against Stinebaugh, including theft from office, conflict of interest and having an unlawful interest in public contracts. The jurors adjourned their deliberations at 7:30 p.m. Friday and returned to the Auglaize County courthouse at 9 a.m. Saturday. Shortly after 12:30 p.m., the foreman announced that the verdict had been passed.

Stinebaugh was convicted on one count of having an unlawful interest in a government contract, a fourth-degree felony; theft in office, downgraded from a third- to fifth-degree offense; and three counts of conflict of interest.

He was sentenced to 18 months in prison for the fourth-degree felony, a charge related to a sewer line laid by the city of Wapakoneta on behalf of Stinebaugh to a house he built. Testimony at the trial said such an occurrence was inconsistent with city ordinances and past practices requiring developers to pay for the installation of sewer lines.

Cosgrove sentenced Stinebaugh to one year in prison for theft and six months in prison for each of the three conflict of interest convictions. The sentences were to be served concurrently, resulting in the former mayor being sentenced to a cumulative 18 months in prison.

Special prosecutors from Attorney General Dave Yost’s office alleged at the trial that the mayor was engaging in nepotism when he appointed his brother as acting chief of the Wapakoneta Fire Department and helped his sister’s company obtain contract work for the city. . He is also alleged to have illegally contracted through his private company to do work for a company that had been lured to settle in Ohio through a financial incentive package.

In her closing arguments before jurors, special counsel Laura Dezort said Stinebaugh had been interviewed by representatives of the Ohio Ethics Committee following alleged illegalities early in his term as mayor. Dezort said that despite knowing he was being investigated, Stinebaugh continued to engage in illegal dealings as mayor.

Following his indictment in August 2021, Stinebaugh was suspended from his position as mayor by a panel of three judges appointed by Maureen O’Connor, Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court.