LIMA — A longtime Lima businessman is now in a prosecution diversion program after pleading guilty to seven felony charges.
Tim DeHaven of DeHaven Home and Garden Showplace agreed to enter a diversion program Monday at a hearing presided over by visiting Judge Frederick McDonald, of Lucas County. This program is designed for nonviolent offenders who the prosecutor believes will not offend again.
In the agreement, DeHaven, 70, agreed to plead guilty to seven counts. Two of them involved selling without a vendor’s license, both fourth-degree felonies, after undercover Ohio Department of Taxation agents purchased items at DeHaven’s business in March and April, while the license for the business was suspended. The counts also included failure to file a monthly tax return, grand theft, filing an incomplete return, failure to remit state income taxes and theft, all fourth- and fifth-degree felonies. The combined maximum penalty for these charges is up to nine years in prison and fines up to $27,500.
In a Lima News story published in June, DeHaven admitted to owing back taxes and had pledged to pay them back. He cited a recent legal battle with St. Rita’s Medical Center and area physicians after nearly losing his life after heart surgery and having amputations afterward, along with his wife’s recent battle with cancer.
“I’ve been battling, battling and battling,” he said. “I work seven days a week. I work sunup to sundown every day trying to do the right thing to pay people I owe money to.”
The diversion program allows suspending the guilty plea pending completion of one year of court supervision, repaying nearly $4,000 in unpaid taxes, and completion of 100 hours of community service. Upon completion, all charges would be dismissed. For McDonald, this situation was tailor-made for the diversion program.
“This is a classic case for diversion,” he said during the hearing. “My understanding is that the defendant has been a businessman in this community for many years. He’s a well-respected individual with no prior criminal record. He ran into some business problems and didn’t do what every businessman should do, which is pay the tax man first.”
DeHaven has already paid back the taxes owed and has completed 28 hours of community service so far, doing landscaping work at such places at St. Charles Catholic Church, the Court of Appeals Building, and Lima Memorial Health System.
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.