Prosecutor Jim Flaiz is a bigger jerk than you think he is. He decides, based on his affiliations, how justice is assigned to law breakers. Take the case of Nancy Link.
When Nancy Link was an accounting clerk for the City of Chardon, she embezzled more than $79,000 during a six year period. She was charged by Flaiz with four felonies. She pled guilty to two of them and two were dismissed. On top of that, $33,000 was charged “to investigate and quantify” the theft, whatever that means. When everything was totaled up she owed the county $125,000.
She agreed to forfeit her retirement benefits with the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS) and Ohio Deferred Compensation account. After those monies were forfeited, she owed a balance of $69,800.
She was also sentenced to 180 days in jail and five years probation. While she was in jail, her lawyer asked for work release because her current employer was willing to let her return to her job. And Nancy still owed a lot of money to the county.
Two days after her lawyer’s filing, Flaiz filed a Brief in Opposition. Flaiz was tough: “The State of Ohio feels strongly that the Defendant should not be afforded any work release.”
Flaiz’s stooge, then-Judge Forest Burt, waited three months to stand by his man: Flaiz. Burt flexed even more muscle: “The overriding purposes of felony sentencing are to protect the public from future crime, yada, yada, yada…overruled. She stayed in jail.
Her restitution was reduced when the county insurance company paid the difference between what she owed and what she had paid. The county was required to forgive the rest of her debt.
Now let’s look at what happens if you are a friend of Flaiz and steal from the taxpayers.
During an eight year period the then-Auditor Frank Gliha signed off on illegal billing and let more than $1.8 million walk away from the county in the hands of an employee. (It actually is significantly more but the scam was so convoluted that no one can determine how much is actually missing, not even the forensic accounting company that charged the county $164,000.)
So, Gliha went to jail for a long time and had to forfeit all his retirement benefits. Right? Wrong. Gliha is pals with Flaiz. Gliha was charged with four misdemeanors, had to pay a $1,000 fine and can’t run for office for four years. That’s it. That’s his entire punishment.
Gliha should be in jail and Flaiz should be right beside him. Flaiz is guilty of Malfeasance and Non-Feasance. Gliha should still be charged for the crimes he committed. Flaiz should be removed from office for not upholding the law. Both should have to relinquish their retirement benefits. In fact, it’s not to late to do that.
Did I mention that Flaiz was warned twenty-six times by a former county employee, starting in June 2014, that money was missing from the Auditor’s office? I repeat: He was warned TWENTY-SIX TIMES over a three year period and ignored the warnings. Flaiz started an investigation in September of 2017. In typical Flaiz fashion, he lied and said he just learned about the embezzlement.
Fortunately, the county employee kept hand-written notes about every date she contacted Flaiz’s office, the date she met with him, and how Flaiz’s assistant said “he rolled his eyes” if she even mentioned it to him.
How much money did Flaiz let walk during those three years? $600,000? $800,000? He is so lacking in self-awareness that he has no shame for only slapping Gliha’s hand. Does Flaiz think that any of us have forgotten the special treatment he gave Gliha? More importantly: did any of the missing money end up in Flaiz’s pocket?
He’s up for re-election next year. We need to Issue 21 him.