LIMA — Allen County Sheriff Sam Crish told an attorney who let him borrow $6,000 seven years ago that he was having financial problems shortly after he was elected sheriff because of business debts he had, according to Lima Municipal Court records.
The financial problems continued even after Crish was well into his career as sheriff. His salary in 2014 when the lawsuit was filed was $84,522.
Attorney Mike Dugan filed a lawsuit against Crish in 2014 for $6,000 he said Crish failed to pay back. The loan originally was made in April 2009, just months after Crish became sheriff, according to court records.
The loan also is one of six lawsuits filed at Lima Municipal Court since Crish was first elected sheriff in November 2008. The six lawsuits totaled $27,068. All have since been dismissed, according to court records.
Crish’s attorney, Mike Rumer, could not be reached for comment.
The lawsuits are part of a history of financial problems for Crish. Last month, former Lima City Councilman Ray Magnus filed a lawsuit for $102,000 he said Crish borrowed and had failed to pay back. Convicted drug dealer Demond Liles accused Crish of setting him up to get out of paying a $20,000 loan he said he made to Crish. Liles is serving a 25-year prison sentence.
The accusations and Magnus’ lawsuit follow a raid by the FBI at Crish’s office in September. The FBI has not released any information into the search of Crish’s office and the matter is pending, an FBI spokeswoman said.
Liles said Crish had a gambling problem in a recent interview. Rumer declined to comment on that but last month released a statement saying Crish was away from work at an inpatient treatment program for “a serious personal issue which he must address.”
Meanwhile, Dugan wrote about financial problems that stretched at least six years for Crish in the lawsuit. Dugan, who died in 2015, said in court records Crish approached him asking for a loan for $6,000 to pay business debts from a business Crish was involved in. The two had a friendship and Dugan said he contributed to Crish’s campaign.
“The loan on August 4, 2009, was interest free because of the friendship between the Plaintiff and the Defendant and the hardship that interest payments would have placed on the Defendant,” the lawsuit said.
The only requirement for repayment was upon the sale of Crish’s business that reportedly caused the financial hardship, the lawsuit said.
Dugan said he later learned from a third party that sometime between Aug. 4, 2009, and Oct. 5, 2013, Crish sold the business but did not pay back the $6,000. Dugan contacted Crish and Crish told Dugan he did sell the business but needed some time to repay the money because of other financial problems he was having, according to court records.
Dugan agreed to give Crish more time to pay back the loan but at a 5 percent interest rate. Crish was to have the loan paid by Aug. 4, 2014, according to the lawsuit.
Dugan filed the lawsuit after Crish failed to pay him. Dugan then dismissed the lawsuit the next day. There was no reason given for the dismissal.
The other lawsuits were filed by Portfolio Recovery Associates for a Lowe’s credit card for $1,432; Capital One Bank for $1,466; FIA Card Services for $10,853; American Express for $5,177; and Midland Funding for $2,138, according to court records.
Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.