LIMA — Former Lima City Councilman Ray Magnus issued letters to various public officials Tuesday protesting what he said was the political prosecution of his brother in 2012 while others were ignored.
Magnus filed letters with the Allen County Board of Elections, the county prosecutor’s office, Allen County Judge Jeffrey Reed and the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office.
Magnus is accusing county officials of selective prosecution by going after his brother for felony election fraud while failing to prosecute two others Magnus said voted twice in the same election.
Assistant Allen County Prosecutor Dan Berry said Magnus is wrong.
“This office has never, in my experience, done any selective prosecution,” Berry said.
Berry said he is aware of the two instances Magnus mentioned. One involved a 96-year-old woman with a memory problem who mailed in a ballot. The woman’s daughter later picked her up on Election Day to take her to vote, Berry said, and the elderly woman did not remember voting by mail.
“You can’t hardly prosecute something like that,” Berry said.
The other incident involved a father and son with the same name who both voted. Originally, there was a red flag raised that one person may have voted twice. When Allen County Sheriff's investigators looked into it, Berry said, they discovered the two people who each voted once.
Magnus also asked Allen County Board of Elections Director Ken Terry to do something. Terry said his office runs the elections and the prosecutor’s office handles anything that may be criminal.
“The way they pushed it on me and my brother, why aren’t they going after them?” Magnus asked Terry.
Terry responded, “You’ll have to go to the prosecutor. We don’t investigate here.”
Magnus did go to the prosecutor’s office and handed Assistant Allen County Prosecutor Tony Miller a letter. Miller said he would get it to Prosecutor Juergen Waldick, who was out of the office Tuesday.
Magnus continued with his allegations of partisan politics.
“Justice should be neutral, and in this case it is not,” he said. “The case against my brother is nothing but political.”
In his letter, Magnus said he is a concerned citizen. He questions why two other people have not been charged with voter fraud for voting twice. He asked in writing for authorities to update him on the status of the investigation.
Magnus said his brother made a mistake but Waldick chose to prosecute him.
Magnus’ brother Larry Magnus was convicted of violation of prohibitions relating to petitions or declaration, an election related felony charge. He was sentenced to four years' probation.
Larry Magnus circulated petitions for Brian Cheney, who unsuccessfully ran in 2012 for county commissioner. Larry Magnus was a convicted felon on probation at the time, which makes handling petitions illegal.
Magnus dropped off nominating petition statements for Cheney at Vino Bellissimo for circulation. Several people signed the form without Magnus witnessing the signatures, officials said.