By: Chardon Resident
This letter was published in one of the local papers.
BURIED CARS, MISPLACED FIREARMS
In answer to Mr. (John) Leech and others who are shocked and very angry about the termination of Tom Curtin as the executive director of Geauga Park District, I say that you should get your facts straight.
The park district Board of Commissioners chose not to renew his contract when it expires on Dec. 31. He was placed on paid administrative leave through the end of his contract; he was not terminated.
In the year that I have been a park commissioner, my eyes have been opened to several examples of wrongdoing, some of which may have happened under Mr. Leech’s watch.
I attempted to get to the bottom of one such matter when I opened an investigation into the handling of the Felkin Estate by the executive director (Curtin). I had begun to hear what I thought were wild allegations about cars being buried and firearms misplaced.
None of the storied added up and I suggested that the board should have an impartial, independent investigation done by someone outside the county who had no vested interest in the matter. The investigation yielded astounding information and was a large factor in our decision not to renew Mr. Curtin’s contract.
Some of the findings were that a car with its tires still on it was ordered buried by Tom Curtin at the Felkin property on Bradford Drive in Munson Township. The Felkin’s personal property, which was left to the park district by Donald and Dorothy Felkin, was never probated and the estate could have been contested. Firearms, including a Thompson submachine gun, that were part of the estate were negligently mishandled and to this day have not been adequately accounted for.
The park districts legal counsel advised the director to rectify the probate issue in 2008 but was ignored. Federal, state and local laws, as well as park regulations, were broken.
This happened several years ago and was not corrected until after the investigation was just recently completed.
Mr. Curtin did not feel that any of these issues were serious, but two of the three park commissioners did.
After much thought and consideration, Mike Petruziello and I voted not to renew Tom Curtins contract after its expiration, as we felt it was in the best interests of both the park district and Mr. Curtin himself to end our relationship.
Mr. Leech’s opinion that there were no grounds for this action is ridiculous. Public officials must be held to a high ethical standard. As park commissioners, it is our duty to uphold these high standards on behalf of the taxpayers of Geauga County and not try to simply sweep such issues under the rug.
Nicholas Fischbach, GPD Commissioner, Burton