Former Madison Twp. Trustee Alan V. Daniel, who was facing multiple criminal charges of misuse of his elected office, admitted guilt in court on Monday.
Daniel, 76, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges authorizing the use of the authority or influence of office to secure anything of value. In exchange for the guilty plea, the remainder of the charges, three of them felonies, were dismissed.
Judge Greg Stephens set sentencing for March 20. Daniel faces a maximum of 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine on both charges, which are first-degree misdemeanors. Daniel is free on his own recognizance.
The guilty plea comes a week after Daniel resigned his longtime position of township trustee.
Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser insisted Daniel resign as part of a guilty plea to reduced charges.
“I felt the best resolution to this was a plea of acceptance of responsibility to criminal conduct and the resignation from his office of public trust, and acknowledgment that he breached the public trust,” Gmoser said.
Prosecutors and Butler County Sheriff’s Office detectives alleged Daniel participated as a voting member of the Butler County Board of Zoning Appeals and as a voting member of the Board of Madison Twp. Trustees in things that benefited him personally and/or a member of his family. Daniel previously resigned from the county board of zoning appeals.
Daniel had been an elected Madison Twp. trustee for approximately 29 years. The investigation leading to the indictment was conducted by the Butler County Sheriff’s Office in cooperation with the investigation and referral for prosecution by the Ohio Ethics Commission. Both entities worked on the investigation for more than a year.
The guilty pleas pertain to Daniel voting on zoning variances for properties his son, Todd Daniel, owned at the corner of Keister and Middletown Germantown roads, clearing the way for a new Dollar General store and voting on road department raises when he should have abstained because his son is road supervisor.
Gmoser said the charge involving the Dollar General development was, by law, a misdemeanor and could not be charged as a felony.
“His corrupt involvement in self-dealing with respect to his financial interest could only be the misdemeanor for which he pled guilty to,” Gmoser said. “I play the cards I am dealt. The level of crime is a legislative issue.”
Gmoser added the voting Daniel participated in regarding his son was “done in the open. It was not a secret. The course of conduct had gone on for quite some time.”
When the investigation began by the ethics commission and BCSO, Gmoser said Daniel did self-report.
“Despite the fact everyone seemed to accept the aware of it, it was still a criminal act. It wasn’t something that could be forgiven and forgotten,” Gmoser said.