By Paul Buescher
Dave Yost, Auditor of State, just released its “Notice of Finding – Updated” involving the Rosemary Barrett theft in office case. This case involved the fraudulent use of credit cards with the former Northfield Center-Sagamore Hills Fire District. The finding was dated November 13, 2018. See report here.
This case has been ongoing for two years and during that time, especially recently, some rumors have spread alleging coverups and other misdeeds by the former Fire District’s Board of Trustees and some of the agencies involved in the investigation. These allegations were made by an obviously untrained, inexperienced and impatient person who refused to wait for the facts to be revealed. Granted, there were facts that we could not reveal due to the ongoing investigation that may have contributed to the speculation but the facts are now in for everyone to see.
This case has been extensively investigated by at least eight professional investigative agencies including:
The Summit County Sheriff’s Office
Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation
The Summit County Prosecutor’s Office
The Sagamore Hills Police Department
The State of Ohio Auditor’s Office, Dave Yost
Charles E. Harris & Associates
The Cincinnati Insurance Companies
Not one of these agencies found any hint of coverups or any other misdeeds by the Fire District’s Board of Trustees. In fact, they found just the opposite. This was obvious in the Auditor’s sole finding against Rosemary Barrett when the report stated, “The Finding for Recovery will be against Ms. Barrett in the amount of $24,639 and in favor of the Northfield Sagamore Hills Fire District.”
One very important conclusion in the Auditor’s finding that we were all anxiously waiting to be released was the following sentence, “MS. BARRETT MADE PAYMENTS FOR THE FIRE DISTRICT’S CREDIT CARD CHARGES ELECTRONICALLY THROUGH THE FIRE DISTRICT’S BANK ACCOUNT.” Since these payments were made ELECTRONICALLY, there were never, to the best of our knowledge, any checks signed, let alone presented to any Board member to sign! That is how this crime got past the Board and the previous audits made by the professional Auditors! It wasn’t until our late Township Administrator, Sam Ciocco and I discovered the credit card theft on our own and prompted me to take the evidence to the Sheriff’s Office. Within an hour, this action resulted in the identification of our suspect, Rosemary Barrett! WE discovered the crime, WE immediately reported the crime, WE assisted in the investigation of the crime and WE were obviously instrumental in Rosemary Barrett’s guilty plea, felony conviction, and sentence! Where’s the coverup?
During the six-year existence of the Fire District (2010-2016), the following ten Northfield Center and Sagamore Hills Trustees served as Board members:
Despite some political differences and the resulting disbanding of the Fire District, all those responsible for its administration were honest in their efforts and worked hard for the residents of both Northfield Center and Sagamore Hills. Not one of the Trustees deserved to be accused of any wrong doing and the Auditor’s Report proves this beyond any shadow of a doubt!
Paul G. Buescher
Northfield Center Twp. Trustee
Former Fire District Board Member