LIMA — Two men charged with complicity in the transportation and illegal dumping of scrap automobile tires within the city of Lima pleaded guilty to reduced charges Monday in Allen County Common Pleas Court.
Jonathon White, 28, of Lima, and Charles Farsht, 35, of Defiance, each accepted plea agreements from a special prosecutor appointed by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for various roles they played in the illegal-tire dumping scheme.
White, 28, appeared before Judge Jeffrey Reed Monday afternoon on a charge of complicity to illegal open dumping of solid waste-scrap tires, an unclassified felony. While in court he agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of illegal emission of an air contaminant, an unclassified misdemeanor.
Ken Egbert, assistant prosecuting attorney for the Attorney General’s Office, told Reed the state was recommending a sentence of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine — and the suspension of both — in exchange for White’s guilty plea. Egbert said the state further recommended that White be ordered to perform 100 hours of community service, obtain his GED and agree to assist prosecutors in the case against co-defendants in the case.
Prosecutors say White, Farsh and John Schlesselman of Lima each aided and abetted Lima resident William Doug Gipson — who remains at large and for whom an arrest warrant has been issued — illegally transport and dispose of scrap tires in a vacant lot at the corner of Main and 12th streets on the city’s south side.
Egbert recommended the lightest sentence of the three for White, telling the court that “Mr. White was the least culpable of the three, with only minor involvement. That’s why the state feels the misdemeanor charge to be appropriate.”
Reed sentenced White on Monday and followed the recommendation of prosecutors to the letter.
DEFIANCE MAN ALSO PLEADS GUILTY
Farsht, 35, of Defiance, also appeared in court Monday for a pre-trial hearing in connection with the tire-dumping scheme and he, too, accepted a deal from prosecutors.
Farsht pleaded not guilty in November to three counts of complicity in the illegal transportation of scrap tires and one count of complicity to the illegal dumping of solid waste, all unclassified felonies. The charges were based on allegations that he also aided and abetted Gipson by helping him illegally transport and dispose of scrap tires at the corner of Main and 12th streets.
In exchange for his guilty pleas, the state agreed to drop two of the counts against him and to recommend Farsht receive probation when he is sentenced Feb. 5. Egbert said the state would request other “specific terms” of community control at that time.
Schlesselman, 50, who operates TJ’s Auto in Lima, pleaded guilty last month to causing scrap tires to be illegally transported. He received a suspended 90-day jail sentence and was fined $1,000, with $750 of that total suspended. As part of a plea agreement offered by prosecutors, Schlesselman also agreed to clean up — at his own expense — the tires he had caused to be dumped at the lot at the corner of Main and 12th streets. He also agreed to cooperate with authorities in ongoing criminal cases against two other defendants in the case.