Saturday, November 14, 2009

Todd Hanks created a mess and now the taxpayer has to pay

When Todd Hanks was county auditor, he took liberties with his statutory authority, and guess who ends up paying? You and me -- the taxpayers.

Hanks ... wallowing from one mess to another. Sounds like a certain type of animal. Can you guess which one.

The following was obtained by a reader via a public records request.
From: Betts, Christopher
Sent: Friday, July 10, 2009 12:11 PM
To: Kaitsa, George
Cc: Owen, William
Subject: BMV Lease

Auditor Kaitsa:

This email responds to the voicemail you left for me last evening (7-9-09). In your voicemail, you requested that I provide you with authority supporting the invalidity of the lease for the BMV space with Tuller Square Northpointe LLC. Specifically, you asked for authority supporting why the signature on the lease of Former County Auditor Todd Hanks was insufficient to create a valid lease.

As you are aware, a county and a county auditor are creatures of statute. In other words, they are both created by statute and, as a result, have only the authority specifically bestowed upon them by statute. Relative to the current circumstances, this means that 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 board of county commissioners, pursuant to RC 307.02, has the authority to acquire office space for county offices, including office space for the county auditor. This means that the board of county commissioners must approve any lease for office space. Given that only the board of commissioners, not the county auditor, has such authority and that the lease was not approved or signed by the commissioners, the lease is invalid.

Hopefully this information is helpful. Should you have any questions or need anything further, please feel free to contact me. Thanks.

Sincerely,

Christopher D. Betts
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney
Delaware County Prosecuting Attorney's Office
140 North Sandusky Street, 3rd Floor
Delaware, Ohio 43015
Telephone: (740) 833-2690
Facsimile: (740) 833-2689

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

And to be fair, you have posted half of the story. That is clearly a legal opinion based on declaring the lease invalid. There is legal support for declaring the lease invalid.

But this opinion does not address the position of the lease being valid. Any good legal argument should address the potential weakness of their case, and then bolster against it. And based upon the commissioners paying the lease for years, it could legally be argued that the lease is valid.

So does this opinion prove a point? Yeah, the lease could be declared invalid. But does the opinion tell the whole story? No.

But no matter which position you choose, it would be wrong for the county to seek money back from the property owner. A court would not allow that type of windfall to the county.

And of course this is all a legal exercise until a court has ruled on the issue. Any good lawyer will tell you that until the court has ruled, it is not a settled issue.


To be clear, this is just a thoughtful comment based upon what has been said and posted. This post should not be construed as a defense of anyone...however it is likely that is how it will be perceived. It is merely an attempt to keep the discussion unbiased.

Jim Fedako said...

7:14 --

That's fair. Legal opinions are many times a restatement of what the govermental entity wants to hold up as truth (witness Olentangy school district during the levy). Of course, an opinion is not a legal decision.

We'll have to see what transpires. Regardless, I think Hanks is way over his head -- and into things he should not be involved in.

Anonymous said...

Todd Hanks aka the Toad should stand up and take responsible for his action. 7:14 your argument is weak proven in case study.

Your argument to go after the property owner would be illegal and insane!

The good people of Delaware County will get our money back from the Toad. We will hold him responsible for the rent paid over the years and the invalid lease.

Did you not get the memo Toad? It was sent to thousands of good folks all of which are taxpayers in this great county.

Toad Pay Up the clock is ticking!
Chew on that Toads Mom

Anonymous said...

8:48 PM,
In session Mr. O'Brien suggested the county being payed for the money they spent on using the space. And that would be a windfall regardless of who had to pay the money. The county would have used space for free. No court would allow that to happen.

The county should have tried to work amicably with the property owner to come to an agreement. But instead they elevated the situation to aggression when they refused to pay the bill. This seems like an effort to gradstand rather than remedy a situation from the past that was negligence- at best.

The whole thing was handled improperly on many levels. Too bad one of the commissioners wanted to grandstand on the issue instead of working out a solution. It could easily cost the county more money than an agreement with the property owner could have for breaking the lease.

But 8:48 PM, you show that you are just looking for a fight and not a civil discussion.

Anonymous said...

8:48
To: Toads Mom

You must be nuts or the author of the delcopoopooreporter. I'm not looking for a fight! I'm looking for my money the Toad stoled.

Hey Toad give my money back!

Anonymous said...

11:39 PM,
I don't know if you are really that ignorant or if you are just feigning ignorance to spin your hate driven propaganda.

The county used property, so they payed for using it. There was no money being stolen. You can lie all you want, but that is the truth. No court, or reasonable person, would see that any other way.

You can reasonably have issue with the problems resulting from the lease. But there was no theft, and claiming so is an outright lie. I can't believe that you would show such a lack of integrity to try and promote your agenda.

Anonymous said...

Oh, man!

ST eGe

CEC

BMV

What else is going to surface?

Toad--your poor judgement and recklessness makes you unfit to serve the public. You really need to step down.