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Ohio Ethics Commission: Maumee mayor violated ethics law

The commission ruled that Richard Carr violated ethics law by asking two public officials to help stop a state investigation into potential conflict of interest.

MAUMEE, Ohio — The Ohio Ethics Commission has ruled that Maumee Mayor Richard Carr violated ethics law by asking two public officials to help stop a state investigation.

The ruling involves the monthslong fighting over a Squire Patton Boggs report in late 2018 that investigated whether Carr and others had a conflict of interest in the sale of city property and into the rapid promotion of Human Resources Director Susan Noble.

The document was the subject of a 2019 11 Investigates report. Following that WTOL investigation, city council voted on Jan. 7, 2019, to send a complaint to the state, alleging that Carr committed ethics violations.

In the aftermath of the complaint being sent to the state, 11 Investigates uncovered an email between Carr and Councilman Scott Noonan, in which Carr asked Noonan to put forward a motion to reconsider the sending of the complaint to the state.

Noonan did not initially respond. But he did make a motion in April 2019 to bring back the complaint.

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That email was cited in the commission's report and also Carr's February 2019 email to Lucas County Pete Gerken, in which the mayor asked Gerken to ask Noonan and Councilman John Boellner to withdraw the investigation. Gerken did not intervene.

The commission ruled that Carr violated ethics law by trying to get Noonan and Gerken involved.

In a settlement agreement, dated June 29, 2020, Carr admitted that he violated the conflict of interest clause of the state's ethics law.  The commission reprimanded Carr and said that he is not allowed to make any additional claims of innocence. It also added that any additional violations will be fully investigated and, if warranted, investigated to the full extent of the law.

READ THE AGREEMENT

Regarding another complaint in the ethics report, the commission found that Carr had no apparent conflict of interest in the sale of land to Monnette's Market.

When reached by 11 Investigates, Carr said that he could not comment on the settlement.

The initial investigation by Squire Patton Boggs launched months of political infighting. Carr placed full blame for the investigation on longtime City Administrator John Jezak, who was put on leave in January 2019 and then retired three months later.

Carr was first appointed mayor in December 2012 when Mayor Tim Wagener resigned, citing health reasons. Like Carr, Wagener also received a reprimand in lieu of having the case turned over to the prosecutor. Wagener was accused of intermingling personal finances with his office.