Sunday, April 30, 2000

GOP seeks inquiry on Holcomb

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — The Butler County Republican Party is asking county commissioners to investigate allegations that Prosecutor John F. Holcomb misused his office to uncover information about a political opponent.

        The Republicans requested the inquiry after The Cincinnati Enquirer revealed state officials are investigating whether the Ohio crime information computer was used improperly or illegally when Butler County Prosecutor's investigator J.C. Kristanoff accessed it to check on his boss' political opponent, Robin Piper.

        “These are very serious charges,” said Joe Statz, political director of the Butler County Republican Party.

        Mr. Holcomb said the accusations by Republicans have no merit.

        “I don't care what they say. They should do an investigation on Robin Piper's past,” he said. “I didn't break any law. He broke the law. They can call on Santa Claus. I have nothing to hide.”

        State investigators said Friday they intend to ask Mr. Holcomb to review the matter, but Mr. Holcomb said he isn't planning an investigation.

        Mr. Kristanoff told police that a check on Mr. Piper's Social Security number was accidental. Records show the checks were performed twice, on Feb. 8 and Feb. 28.

        Use of the computer is limited to criminal-justice purposes, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, which supervises the computer. Using it for political purposes would be a violation. Possible penalties range from barring future use to criminal prosecution, authorities said.

        Trenton Police Chief Joe E. Richard said Mr. Kristanoff in the past has used the Trenton police computer to conduct background checks.


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