WAPAKONETA — Wapakoneta’s mayor, Tom Stinebaugh, is under investigation by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for unspecified ethics violations.
A complaint was filed through the Ohio Ethics Commission recently, which turned the investigation over to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, which will act as a special prosecutor in the case.
“What I can tell you is I understand that there was an ethics commission inquiry,” said Ohio Attorney General’s Office spokesman Steve Irwin. “As a result of that, a common pleas judge appointed our special prosecutions section to be the prosecutor in a case.”
Details of what they are investigating haven’t been released.
According to the Ohio Ethics Commission’s website, “Under state law, the Ohio Ethics Commission’s investigations are confidential. While the Commission may share information with other law enforcement authorities, Ohio Revised Code 102.07 deems any complaints, charges, or investigations handled by the Ohio Ethics Commission private and confidential. Therefore, the Ethics Commission cannot comment on allegations or ongoing investigations.”
When reached by phone, Stinebaugh had little to say about the investigation.
“So yeah, so I’ve been contacted,” he said. “My reaction is there’s nothing to it. That’s why I hope that it will go away, but, you know, I don’t know if that’s going to happen or not. It’s much ado about nothing; that’s what it is. But again, I can’t control what they do.”
Stinebaugh was elected mayor in the fall of 2015, beating Rodney Metz. He was re-elected this November, defeating challenger Brandon Terrill.
In January 2014, Stinebaugh sued the City of Wapakoneta Safety Services Director William Rains and fire Chief Kendall Krites in federal court, alleging retaliation for exercising his First Amendment right to free speech. He was fired in 2012, which he claimed followed statements he made in 2011 to three members of city council about the desire by the fire chief to purchase a new engine truck.
In December of 2016, a settlement was reached, where Stinebaugh would receive more than $107,000 in compensation.
Several months earlier, in March of 2016, Stinebaugh appointed his brother, Tony Stinebaugh, as interim chief of the Wapakoneta Fire Department.
Stinebaugh has also worked as a Realtor since 1987. He’s listed as an agent with Binkley Real Estate LLC.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.