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
By CANDACE PRESTON-COY
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.