Put-in-Bay Mayor Pleads Guilty
Put-in-Bay Mayor Pleads Guilty and resigns on February 13th, about four months after being indicted by the State of Ohio for two felonies and four misdemeanors involving ethics violations and conflicts of interest. The State charged McCann with securing a waterline project for a business associate, which the Put-in-Bay Village Council unanimously voted to approve.
At about the same time, McCann’s son, Put-in-Bay Village Councilman Bernard Michael Mc- Cann, and daughter, Melinda Myers, were both charged with ethics misdemeanors stemming from actions the State says were to their benefit. Melinda was on the Village Council at the time. The Put-in-Bay investigation which led to the charges, began in June 2017, after concerns were voiced to the county prosecutor.
The guilty pleas result from a joint criminal investigation by the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Ohio Ethics Commission.
Mayor McCann’s Resignation Followed by Mayor Pleads Guilty
McCann’s daughter, Melinda Myers, delivered his resignation letter to the Village Council at their February meeting. Council accepted his resignation. President Pro Tempore of the Council, Jessica Dress, became mayor. Two days after resigning, the Mayor Pleads Guilty, his son, Michael, and daughter Melinda Myers, appeared in court in Port Clinton and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor conflict of interest charges.
The pleas appeared to be part of a plea deal rumored to be being hammered out nearly two months ago. According to one report, “visiting Judge Larry Allen, of Willoughby, offered a blistering rebuke of the three McCanns following their guilty pleas, shaking his head as he spoke.”The Put-in-Bay Mayors Sentencing is scheduled for March 29th. In his resignation letter, McCann wrote, “I have been wrongfully accused of felonious criminal activity, including allegations of theft in office, bribery, money laundering, and having an unlawful interest in a public contract. None of these allegations are true. Not one of the allegations was supported by any credible evidence.”
“As a result of these allegations and the ensuing investigation by the State of Ohio since at least June of 2017, Village Council has been unable to complete the project as promised to the Ohio State University over 12 years ago to supply Ohio State (facilities located on Peach Point & Gibraltar) with appropriate water flow for fire protection. This project is critical. My resignation as Mayor will allow Village Council to address this specific project and the many other issues which confront the Village of Put-in-Bay.” He added, “As a resident, I would be happy to serve on Council or in any other manner.”
Michael McCann is still a council member, and the misdemeanor charge does not prevent him from holding public office. The President of the Council, Jessica Dress, has been chairing Council meetings since December. With Dress taking over as mayor, her Council seat must be filled. At least two Village residents are interested in filling the vacated seat. The Village Council has 30 days to fill the seat, and if it doesn’t, the new mayor has the option of filling or not filling the seat. Contrary to reports calling Dress “the acting Mayor,” she is the official mayor of the Village of Put-in-Bay and will continue until the next mayoral election.