Dover mayor’s jury trial scheduled to start Tuesday
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (November 4, 2022) – The jury trial of longtime Dover Mayor Richard Homrighausen is scheduled to start Tuesday in front of Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Judge Elizabeth Thomakos.
Homrighausen has pleaded not guilty to nine counts in a grand jury indictment. The most serious is theft in office, a third-degree felony. The State Auditor’s Office and Special Prosecutor Robert Smith say Homrighausen pocketed about $9,000 in wedding fees. Smith says other nepotism charges relate to the employment of homrighausen’s son.
Homrighausen has been suspended from office with pay since April. Former Homrighausen ally and City Council President Shane Gunnoe has been acting as interim mayor.
Homrighausen has said he has no comment until the case is resolved.
Homrighausen has a pretrial scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday. He could change his plea then if prosecutors have offered a deal.
The jury trial is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Tuesday. It has already been delayed twice. Once because a witness had COVID, and once for an unspecified personal situation.
If he’s convicted, Homrighausen could face fines, jail time, disqualification from public office, and loss of public pension.
If Homrighausen is found not guilty and allowed back in office, he’ll return to a city government that has not supported him.
In addition to the criminal charges, council members and city attorneys have accused Homrighausen of being an absentee mayor, allowing hundreds of thousands of dollars of misspending at the city’s light and power plant, and conspiring with Dover Chemical to unlawfully provide the company with free electrical services and equipment.
Facebook pages and softball pictures
Recent court filings might provide some hints at Homrighausen’s defense. His attorney lists among potential witnesses Homrighausen’s wife and two sons, and a couple of retired city administrators.
The defense’s potential evidence list includes the campaign Facebook page for Gunnoe when he ran for state representative, along with eight pictures of the Dover City Sluggers softball team.
Gunnoe is also listed among potential witnesses. Gunnoe’s wedding is one of four highlighted in the criminal complaint. Other listed witnesses include three employees Homrighausen tried to fire who are back at work.