Special prosecutor represents Clark County auditor in clash with clerk

Citing a conflict of interest, Clark County Common Pleas Court officials have recused themselves from a lawsuit filed by the county clerk of courts against the county auditor.

Warren County Prosecutor David P. Fornshell and an assistant Warren County prosecutor have been assigned to defend Clark County Auditor John Federer, who has been accused of withholding the paychecks of Clark County Clerk of Courts Ron Vincent, according to court records.

Clark County Administrative Judge Thomas J. Capper has been assigned to preside over the case, according to court records.

Vincent filed a lawsuit last month against Federer demanding his paychecks that have been withheld since January. But Federer said Vincent is the only county employee who has refused to use direct deposit and the lawsuit is a waste of taxpayer money.

Vincent denies wasting taxpayer money and insists he has saved taxpayers thousands of dollars over the years, which have been used to pay for security cameras, metal detectors, cruisers and other county projects.

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Vincent’s checks have been held in an account within Clark County until Vincent provides the auditor with the information needed to transfer his money into a bank account electronically, according to the lawsuit.

Vincent hasn’t received a paycheck this year after refusing to accept his pay via direct deposit. His attorney, Kurtis G. Black, says in the lawsuit the auditor has withheld more than $21,000 of Vincent’s salary.

Black did not return calls from the Springfield News-Sun seeking comment.

Federer established a policy in 2012 requiring all public employees be paid by direct deposit, but state law at the time excluded elected officials.

After the definition of a public official changed in September 2014, Federer gave Vincent until Dec. 31, 2014, to sign an agreement giving Federer the authority to deposit his salary into an account and “to innate, if necessary, debit entries and adjustments for any credit entries in error,” according to court documents.

Vincent, who receives a Social Security check and a check from the Ohio Supreme Court via direct deposit, informed Federer he still wanted to receive his county salary by a paper check. However, Federer refused to make an exception for Vincent, according to the lawsuit.

Federer did not return calls seeking comment.

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