Sunday, January 30, 2000

Dispute slows distribution of funds to charity




The Associated Press

        AKRON, Ohio — A continuing legal dispute between the state attorney general's office and lawyers for former Ohio Auditor Thomas Ferguson has resulted in at least $35,000 in charity money not being distributed, a newspaper reported Saturday.

        Mr. Ferguson pleaded no contest in March 1996 to nine misdemeanor counts of soliciting contributions from state employees on state time. Mr. Ferguson was sentenced to a year's probation, fined $2,500 and ordered to do 180 hours of community service.

        As part of a plea bargain to avoid a one-year jail sentence, Mr. Ferguson agreed to donate about $400,000 from his campaign account, Friends of Ferguson, to various charities.

        In addition to the dispute over the at least $35,000, Ferguson lawyer Donald J. McTigue said the attorney general halted distribution of another $86,702 from a defunct securities company.

        “It's going to be distributed,” Mr. McTigue told the Akron Beacon Journal, noting settlement talks are continuing with the office of Attorney General Betty Montgomery.

        Todd Boyer, a spokesman for Ms. Montgomery's office, said, “Any delay in the resolution of the case is because Mr. Ferguson's attorneys have yet to comply with this office's request that they completely document their legal expenses.”

       



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