Sunday, August 09, 2009

Todd Hanks: pride run amok

In his role as county commissioner, Hanks plays Tweedledee to Tommy Thompson's Tweedledum.

In his previous role as county auditor, Hanks made a mess of his office (see below). And now as a county commissioner, Hanks wants to make another mess -- actually, he wants to build a real mess.

So what is the difference between his two messes? His newly proposed mess is some 30 times larger than his old one. And his new mess appears to be nothing other than a $3 million gift to political supporters, while his mess as auditor was simply incompetence.

For someone who couldn't get his job right as auditor (he failed), it is amazing to see that Hanks is still full of so much pride that he thinks he can get it right this time. And he will gladly spend your tax dollars chasing his new dream -- or, more aptly, he will gift your money to his friends in the name of his boondoggle.

Hanks and Thompson need to get on with the job of county commissioner and inspect ditches, etc. That is something they should be able to get right without causing harm-- at least you would hope so.

County says BMV lease invalid
Friday, August 7, 2009 6:40 PM
ThisWeek Staff Writer

The Delaware County prosecutor's office says former auditor Todd Hanks should not have signed a lease in 2005 for a Bureau of Motor Vehicles office he opened in Lewis Center.

The auditor's office operated the BMV center in the Tuller Square Northpointe shopping center until June 27, 2009. Current auditor George Kaitsa closed the office after the Ohio Department of Public Safety declined to renew the office's contract.

Kaitsa looked at the lease agreement, signed by now-county commissioner Hanks on April 28, 2005, trying to find a way to terminate the lease, which expires in April 2012. When he did not find a cancellation clause in the lease agreement, Kaitsa, in a voice message, asked the county prosecutor's office to review the contract on July 9. In that message, Kaitsa questioned whether the lease was valid because it only contained Hanks' signature.

In his written response to Kaitsa, assistant prosecutor Christopher D. Betts said the "Ohio Revised Code would need to specifically grant authority to a county auditor to sign a lease for office space. I am unaware of any statute that provides such authority. Thus, the county auditor, on his or her own, lacks authority to enter a lease for office space."

The commissioners do have the authority to enter into rental agreements, Betts continued. Because they have the authority, "and the lease was not approved or signed by the commissioners, the lease is invalid," Betts concluded.

Kaitsa said his office is currently negotiating with the landlord to come to an out-of-court settlement on the remaining $120,000 owed on the lease.

Hanks said he never had a reason to question whether he had the authority to sign the lease and has "never had any office holder or director say anything to me about the lease being a problem."

He also said he isn't sure but believes he asked for guidance from the prosecutor's office before signing the lease but has nothing in writing to support that claim.

The commissioners and the prosecutor's office were kept informed throughout the process to get state approval for the BMV office, Hanks said. All three commissioners signed a letter from Hanks to state registrar Franklin Caltrider dated Dec. 19, 2004, thanking the registrar for allowing a second BMV office in the county.

On Feb. 7, 2007, the commissioners created a new fund titled "Bureau of Motor Vehicles" and appropriated $100,000 for the fund, according to county resolution No. 05-157. At that meeting county administrator Dave Cannon told the commissioners the action was needed "to set up the office."

On a video of that meeting, Hanks asked if anyone had any questions regarding the opening of the office and no one did. Former assistant prosecutor Leah Sellers was at that meeting, Hanks said.

In 2003, the county commissioners and the prosecutor's office reviewed a lease agreement for clerk of courts Jan Antonoplos for space she was renting in the same shopping center, according to county documents, and the county commissioners approved that lease.

ThisWeek attempted to reach someone from county prosecutor Dave Yost's office Friday afternoon to find out why the same process was not used for the BMV lease. No one was available to comment.


Anonymous said...

This presumption of an illegal lease is odd. By paying the bill for the last four plus years, the previous board acknowledged the lease.

In the legal world, this is known as an implied in fact contract. Calling the lease illegal now is somewhat absurd and is a political trick to get out of an unneeded lease.

I don't mind the county finding a way to get out of paying the bill, but it should come from negotiations and not legal maneuvering.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to disagree, but Tweedledee and Tweedledum aren't qualified to inspect ditches they should be restricted to cleaning ditches. The rules must be limited so that Tweedledee and Tweedledum won't continue breaking them. Why keep them on the payroll period?

Hold Todd A Hanks aka Tweedledee and Tommy W Thompson aka Tweedledum accountable!

malfeasance, official misconduct; violation of a public trust or duty.

misfeasance, the wrongful performance of a lawful act; wrongful and injurious exercise of lawful authority.

nonfeasance, the failure to perform acts which ought to have been performed.

$214,000.00 loss in the first 3 years another $10,000.00 on rent since it closed.
Hanks you owe the taxpayers of Delaware County a little change!

Let the Sunshine

Anonymous said...

The issue here isn't by which method the county is attempting to nullify the lease. The issue here is that Todd Hanks, again, has acted irresponsibly and unethically.

This guy has shown us over and over that he is ethically flawed and that he's a liability to the county. He needs to be put out of office. My feeling is that he won't get re-elected. Worse for him, I bet he gets a cold shoulder from key folks within the DelCo GOP for his re-election bid (which is a hell of an achievement, given the kind of appetite the Party has for corrupt officeholders).

Anonymous said...

What I'd like to know is why the state wants to close a facility in Lewis Center and open one in Powell? Powell folks can't drive to Lewis Center but Lewis Center folks can drive to Powell? Why spend the money to move the facility a couple of miles when it was a perfectly fine facility.

Jim Fedako said...

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