DOVER (WJER) (March 14, 2022) – City officials are responding to the grand jury indictment against Mayor Richard Homrighausen, but we have yet to hear from the mayor himself.
Homrighausen faces 15 criminal counts, including eight felonies. The state auditor’s office says they’re related to pocketing wedding fees and hiring his son to a city job.
Homrighausen has an arraignment date scheduled for Wednesday, March 30, at 1 p.m. He must arrive a half hour early to be fingerprinted.
The case is assigned to Judge Elizabeth Thomakos. Robert Smith is the special prosecutor from the State Auditor’s Office.
Dover Law Director Doug O’Meara in an emailed statement said the allegations are very serious and include felony tax violations, felony theft in office, and felony unlawful interest in a public contract. He says the city has incurred extensive costs due to the mayor’s “misconduct.” statement to citizens of Dover (1)
“We know that we will prevail against all wrongdoing by this mayor and those who have cooperated with him to the detriment of the city of Dover, its employees, and its citizens.”
Councilwoman Sandy Moss in an emailed statement says she hopes the mayor resigns.
“I feel a small weight has been lifted for myself, City council and Dover. No celebration, laughs or I told you so, no hatred or vengeance on the attacks on City council for standing up for the truth. This is the beginning of a process to move the city and the citizens of Dover forward. Over the past 1-2 years, all of us have had sleepless nights and stress. I once again commend our Police, Fire, all Superintendents and every employee in the City that kept the city running. I feel staying positive and moving forward is the best thing we can do at this time. I am still hoping that Mayor Homrighausen will resign.”
Investigators not discussing case specifics
The state auditor’s office continues to say it is their policy not to discuss ongoing work, and this case is not closed.
Ohio Ethics Commission Executive Director Paul Nick had a similar response.
“At this point, once the charges have been filed, then it kind of plays out through the court system,” he said. “I think you’ll find most folks on the prosecution side are somewhat, basically under attorney ethics, limited in what we can say publicly because we don’t want to be making any statements that might affect the case.”
He said the two agencies worked together on the investigation.
“This is a coordinated joint investigation with the Auditor of State so our investigators were working with their investigators on the aspects that are within our authority which would be conflicts of interest, hiring family members and supplemental compensation for receiving moneys to perform duties in connection with the official office.”
The State Auditor’s Office in a press release said most of the felonies, including the highest third-degree felony theft in office, relate to the mayor “pocketing wedding fees that should have been directed to the city.”
Nick says hiring a family member can also lead to one of the felony charges in the indictment – having an unlawful interest in a public contract.
“A public official hiring a son could be a violation under the public contract law, at that’s a fourth-degree felony.”