Montgomery County, Ohio Prosecutor Bonus Investigation

by | Professional

While working for Reconstructing Dayton, we received a tip that the county prosecutor was handing out extremely large end-of-year bonuses with the surplus budget. This budget would normally go back to the county. The investigation revealed that this practice was frowned upon by other officials within the county but was not overtly illegal. It did, however, pose some legal questions because it may have given the prosecutors office an (even greater) advantage over the public defender’s office, which is technically (but not in practice) supposed to have equal resources to the prosecutor.

The disappointing result of the investigation was that this was “legal graft.” Basically, the laws were written in such a way that the prosecutor could legally pillage public funds. The investigation also revealed that the prosecutor had engaged in a pattern of using public funds to benefit himself and close allies. The most frustrating conclusion to this story was that only the voters could hold the prosecutor accountable but no one was willing to run against him. He had worked out a public deal with the local Republican party stating they would not run a candidate against him if the local Democratic party would not run a candidate for Sheriff. No Democratic attorneys would run against him because they feared retribution from the prosecutor and the party.

I reported the story but unfortunately it failed to have the impact we had hoped for. Although I had done other pieces for Reconstructing Dayton, this was my first time really doing investigative journalism. I certainly learned a lot from it and there are things I would have liked to have done differently, but I stand by the reporting.

12/28/2021Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office Siphons Budget Surpluses for Large Employee Bonuses
12/30/2021Decades of Graft by Mat Heck
01/05/2021Heck Uses Bonuses to Circumvent Ohio Administrative Code
02/15/2021The Inefficiencies of the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office: A Deeper Look at Bonuses

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