State dismissing 2 counts in Rauch dumping case; defense wins evidence fight

Prosecutors moved to dismiss some counts and the defense won an evidence fight in the hours before an illegal dumping trial began this week against a prominent Dayton-area contractor and his businesses, according to court records.

Steve Rauch, 64, of Germantown, faces charges in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court in a state Environmental Protection Agency case filed by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

The trial resumed this morning.

Three of Rauch’s businesses — SRI Inc. and Rauch Trucking Co. Inc. and Bearcreek Farms Inc. – were also indicted in the case being heard by Judge Timothy O’Connell.

But on Monday, the court granted a defense motion seeking to bar a “secretly recorded” meeting of “compromise negotiations” with Rauch and West Carrollton officials, court records show.

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The meeting regarding illegal dumping at the city’s Hydraulic Road land included Chief Code Enforcement Officer Carl Enterman and Robert Bell, a detective with that city’s police department. Enterman and Bell have been investigating the illegal dumping issues, according to court records.

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“The Rauch defendants anticipate that the state will improperly attempt to introduce statements made by Mr. Rauch during this negotiation (via either the secret recording or testimony from the West Carrollton officials who were present),” according to the defense’s filing.

O’Connell’s ruling filed Monday calls the defense’s argument “well-taken,” but notes: “This order granting defendants’ motion is a tentative, preliminary, or presumptive ruling about an evidentiary issue that is anticipated, but has not been presented in its full context.”

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In a filing late Monday, the attorney general’s office asked to dismiss the charges two charges against Steve Rauch, two counts against SRI Inc. and the lone charge against Bearcreek Farms Inc.

No ruling has been filed on the motion, court records show.

Bearcreek was indicted on operating a solid waste facility without a license.

Rauch was indicted on five felony counts, including three open dumping and burning, and two counts operating a solid-waste facility without a license.

The state asked to drop two charges, one each of the different categories, records show.

SRI was indicted on five counts of unlawfully and recklessly disposing of solid wastes by open dumping not authorized, court records show.

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