Mayor Charged -Updated January 2, 2019 Plea deal for McCann???
Sources close to Mayor McCann report a plea deal between the Put-in-Bay Mayor Mack McCann and the Attorney General’s office over the felony charges the mayor was facing. The last-minute deal came just before the Christmas holiday. The exact details of the plea were not forthcoming, but it is believed the felony charges against the mayor will be dropped if he agrees to the misdemeanor charges he is also charged with.
Misdemeanor charges against his adult children, former Put-in-Bay Councilwoman Melinda Myers and current Put-in-Bay Councilman Michael McCann, would also be dropped. The mayor has a court date in mid-January.
Mayor Charged After Year-Old Raids
Put-in-Bay village mayor charged as a result of raids on various offices a year ago. Mack McCann, 82, his son, councilman Michael McCann, and his daughter, former village council president Melinda McCann Myers, face multiple conflicts of interest charges following a year-long investigation. Also indicted this past month is former village clerk/treasurer Kelly Niese.
Mayor Charged with Six Counts
The mayor was indicted on six counts, two felonies and four misdemeanors. According to the indictment, McCann’s charges stem from incidents on approximately May 2, 2016, and January 21, 2017. The two felony violations fall under ORC Section 2921.42(A)(1), which reads, “2921.42 Having an unlawful interest in a public contract. (A) No public official shall knowingly do any of the following: (1) Authorize or employ the authority or influence of the public official’s office to secure authorization of any public contract in which the public official, a member of the public official’s family, or any of the public official’s business associates has an interest.”
The four misdemeanors are of Section 102.03(D) and 102.03(E) Representation by a present or former public official or employee prohibited, and read “(D) No public official or employee shall use or authorize the use of the authority or influence of office or employment to secure anything of value or the promise or offer of anything of value that is of such a character as to manifest a substantial and improper influence upon the public official or employee with respect to that person’s duties.
(E) No public official or employee shall solicit or accept anything of value that is of such a character as to manifest a substantial and improper influence upon the public official or employee with respect to that person’s duties.”
Jury Trial Set For January
McCann was charged for allegedly using his position to secure waterline contracts for a business associate. Mayor McCann pleaded not guilty, and a jury trial has been set for January 15th, 2019, in Ottawa County Common Pleas Court. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office filed a notice with the Ohio Supreme Court on October 30th to begin suspension hearings for McCann. This is mandatory under Ohio law. The process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months and can be contested.
If suspended from his mayoral duties, McCann would continue to receive compensation from the Village. Attorney John McCaffrey reportedly emailed a statement on behalf of Mayor McCann to the Sandusky Register: “The conduct at issue concerns separate contracts the village of Put-in-Bay entered into with Put-in-Bay Investments. One contract involved work on the Victory Avenue water line, while the other involved repairing and installing a manhole on Delaware Avenue,” an excerpt from the statement reads.
“Mayor McCann and no member of Mayor McCann’s family has any business interest in Put-in-Bay Investments … We strongly disagree with the state’s interpretation and application of the facts to the charged offenses.” A vote of the Village Council approved both projects. Councilman Jeff Koehler said they were approved because Put-in-Bay Investments was the only company on the island with the equipment to do the work, the job was cost-effective for the community, and the work could be completed before the busy season began.
Son & Daughter of Mayor Charged
Michael McCann, 54, was charged with four counts, and Myers, 52, was charged with six counts, all first-degree misdemeanors, in Ottawa County Municipal Court. Both are alleged to have violated Ohio law regarding prohibited representation by public officials – Michael in February 2014 and May 2016, and Melinda in October 2015 and twice in May 2016.
These are the same misdemeanors sections Mayor McCann was charged with, but it is unknown what the details of the violation involve. In a joint statement, Melinda and Michael disagreed with the State’s characterization of their conduct while serving on Put-in-Bay Village Council. The statement read, “They await the opportunity to properly explain the appropriateness of their actions and defend against the allegations of misconduct.” Kelly Niese, 49, the village’s former fiscal officer, was charged with theft in office and grand theft, both felonies.
Niese allegedly disbursed village funds to herself without authorization from the village council, according to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. She was replaced by Council late this last spring. A spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office said the charges are related to an ongoing joint investigation of the Village of Put-in-Bay but did not elaborate on future actions.