LIMA —The brother of a former City Council member pleaded no contest Tuesday to an election-related charge.
Larry Magnus, 52, was convicted on a charge of violation of prohibitions relating to petitions or declaration, a fifth-degree felony. He is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 1.
The charge said he circulated petitions for Brian Cheney, who was trying to run for county commissioner as a nonpartisan candidate. Magnus is a convicted felon who was on probation at the time he handled the petitions, which is illegal.
Magnus’ brother is Ray Magnus, who is a former member of Lima City Council.
As part of the plea deal, Assistant Allen County Prosecutor Tony Miller said he would not seek a probation violation against Magnus for a weapons case.
The charge said Magnus dropped off nominating petition statements for Cheney at Vino Bellissimo for circulation. Several people signed the form without Magnus at the site witnessing the signatures, officials said.
In March, the Allen County Board of Elections rejected Cheney’s petitions because, at the time, Magnus was its circulator. Convicted felons can be circulators and they do not need to be registered voters to do so but they cannot be on probation of any kind.
Magnus pleaded guilty to attempted weapons under disability in January and was placed on three years probation.
Elections Director Ken Terry suspected elections fraud over Cheney’s petitions and reported the matter to the Allen County Sheriff’s Office. Terry found a petition signed by Larry Magnus as the circulator and realized he had witnessed the petition in question being circulated. People he was with, including his mother-in-law, had signed the petition, which was passed around without a circulator.
Ray Magnus, who helped Cheney circulate petitions, said he left the petition in question at Vino Bellissimo for circulation and some signatures were gathered there. He then took back the petition and had his brother gather other signatures.
Ray Magnus said he did not know someone on probation was not allowed to circulate petitions. Larry Magnus signed the petition for the signatures he gathered and Ray Magnus said he planned to take the petition back to Vino Bellissimo to get the petition signed by the other circulator but got sick and forgot to do so.