Updated Wed, Feb 5, 2014 3:53 pm
State investigators interviewed more than 50 people during their investigation of Athens County Sheriff Patrick Kelly, according to an affidavit filed with the Ohio attorney general's request to have Kelly suspended from office while the criminal case against the sheriff proceeds.
The affidavit, from Special Agent Supervisor Benjamin Suver of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, gives additional details of the allegations against Kelly, who was indicted Friday on 25 counts. Kelly has said he did not commit any criminal acts.
On Tuesday, the attorney general's office filed paperwork, including the affidavit, with the chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court to initiate a process that could result in Kelly being suspended from office.
"I am definitely fighting them," Kelly said Wednesday afternoon.
One incident outlined in the sworn affidavit describes an alleged theft of a campaign contribution, and is listed under the heading "Money Laundering and Theft: Campaign Funds."
Suver alleges that Kelly instructed his campaign manager, Clinton Stanley, to pick up a cash campaign donation of $500 during the sheriff's 2012 campaign and put it in Stanley's personal checking account, then to write a check for the $500 to the campaign committee. The affidavit asserts Kelly was present when the check was written, but that as Stanley started to make it out to the campaign committee, Kelly stopped him and instructed Stanley to make the check out to Kelly.
Suver states that the $500 donation was never deposited into the campaign account and was not listed as a contribution nor expenditure on campaign finance reports.
The affidavit states that Stanley was interviewed by a BCI agent and later gave testimony under oath.
Among the charges against Kelly are perjury, tampering with evidence and tampering with records.
"Patrick Kelly altered and falsified the records of the Athens County Sheriff's Office supplied to the state in order to mislead the state's investigation and to avoid prosecution for theft of cash funds purportedly used by Patrick Kelly to pay confidential informants," Suver asserts in the affidavit.
The documents involved were subpoenaed, and later ordered turned over by Visting Judge Patricia Cosgrove. Kelly was placed under oath Sept. 30 and asked by Cosgrove if all the documents pertaining to confidential informants requested by investigators were provided, according to the affidavit.
"Patrick Kelly, while under oath, answered in the affirmative," Suver writes. "However, Patrick Kelly failed to give the state a document pertaining to an alleged confidential informant that the state gathered from Patrick Kelly's computer during the execution (of search warrants on June 7 and Dec. 11). Moreover, said document was accessed on Patrick Kelly's computer between the time of the execution of the first and second warrants."
The affidavit also asserts that between 2009 and 2011, Kelly sold county scrap on seven occasions at McKee's scrapyard for cash totaling $2,856. "There is no record of the proceeds being deposited into any public fund in Athens County and the proceeds are unaccounted for," Suver writes.
The scrapped items included several vehicles (including a former bread truck), copper and various equipment and parts, according to the affidavit.
During an eighth transaction last May 11, Kelly was paid $470.40 for the sale of county property at the scrapyard. On June 13, after BCI questioned two sheriff's employees about the money, Kelly had a "partial deposit" of $389.85 made into the county general fund, the affidavits states.
According to Suver, the sheriff's office is required by Ohio law to maintain a cashbook in which Kelly is to enter the date, amount and other information regarding money he receives as sheriff.
"Patrick Kelly failed to document any money obtained from McKee's scrapyard from April 14, 2009, through June 20, 2011, in a cashbook or elsewhere," Suver asserts in the affidavit.
One of the charges on which Kelly was indicted is failure to keep a cashbook.
As The Messenger previously reported, Kelly is accused of taking more than $4,000 over time from the cash box at the sheriff's office, which also is mentioned in the affidavit.
"The investigation has been unable to uncover any evidence that this cash has been re-deposited into any public account(s) or uncovered any evidence that this cash has been used for any legitimate public expenditure," Suver writes.
The affidavit asserts that during his tenure Kelly has spent more than $3,000 of public money at restaurants "for which he had neither provided a receipt or justification for a legitimate public purpose for which the funds were expended."
The affidavit also alleges that Kelly also spent more than $1,500 in public funds at restaurants for which he provided receipts, but no justification.
There were other meal expenditures that were documented, but that the affidavit asserts were personal expenditures. It gives the example of a receipt that Kelly submitted for $54.34 spent at Ponderosa, purportedly for lunch for employees after a parade on March 27, 2011. The affidavit states that date was a Sunday, there was no parade in Athens County that day and that written on the receipt was "Chiefs Meeting discuss NET." NET is the Narcotics Enforcement Team. The affidavits said there were numerous kids meals associated with the purchase, and that Ponderosa did not give its usual law enforcement discount.
The 25 counts on which Kelly was indicated include 13 theft in office charges, four theft charges, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, money laundering, tampering with evidence, tampering with records, perjury and failure to keep a cashbook, all felonies. He also was indicted on misdemeanor counts of dereliction of duty and obstructing official business.
He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Athens County Common Pleas Court.