Friday, November 03, 2000

Council hopefuls vow clean tenures

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        VILLA HILLS — Candidates for Villa Hills City Council pledged to work for the betterment of the city, even as many vowed at a Thursday night candidates forum to stop alleged misconduct and wasteful spending in City Hall.

        “My platform is truth, honesty and straightforwardness,” said Councilman Tim Sogar, who is one of 10 candidates seeking six council seats.

        “No, I don't have a city credit card and never did, I haven't been to Hooters, (I) didn't go to Outback, and I have never been to golf outings.”

        Mr. Sogar said he had, however, attended city Christmas parties where alcohol was served, when council candidate Dennis Stein was mayor. Among the attendees, he said, were some of those who have been behind allegations of improper spending by past and current members of council.

        The expenditures Mr. Sogar referred to are being looked into by the state auditor's office.

        While the actions of a former city council were likely inappropriate, there was no indication they were illegal, a member of the state auditor's office wrote in a letter to the Villa Hills mayor last week. The auditor's office hopes to finish that examination “as soon as possible,” Brian Lykins of the auditor's office said before Thursday's forum.

        Only six people had filed by the August deadline to be on the ballot for Villa Hills Council. Since then, however, the infighting in City Hall has prompted several write-in candidates to file for a two-year council term.

        Julie Schuler, who has vol unteered for various civic projects, is running on a slate with fellow challenger Bob Krems, an accountant who pledged to run city government like a business, write-in candidates Cheryl King, a homemaker; Paul Reis, a printing industry technical consultant, and Thom Vollmar, a computer software salesman.

        Ms. Schuler said her ticket will bring fairness, teamwork, fresh ideas and positive change to a city that has more recently become known for its governmental controversies than its 1994 designation as Greater Cincinnati's most livable city.

        “We've had problems. Let's just move on and start over,” Ms. Schuler said.

        Also running are Bob Kramer, a 19-year council member and civic activist; former Mayor Dennis Stein, who defended thousands of dollars worth of restaurant and party expenditures during his administration as helping reward and retain low-paid, valued employees in a competitive job market; write-in candidate Jerome Beagle, a funeral director and for mer Crescent Springs council member who said “he is not one to bicker or point a finger at anyone,” and incumbent Mike Sadouskas, who pledged to continue the teamwork he has demonstrated through his membership on the local fire authority, the historical society and with council projects such as new sidewalks, and a grant for a waterline at Amsterdam Road and Ky. 8.

        “It's important for people to realize that this council has gotten things done,” Mr. Sadouskas said.

        Some council members and Mr. Stein, who was mayor during the time of the alleged improper spending, say the episode was an attempt to divert attention from investigations of Mr. Clark.

        The Kentucky Attorney General's office and the Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney's Office are investigating a $25,025 check that the mayor sent to a Florence concrete company last spring.

        The money was supposed to be for sidewalks. But any project over $10,000 must be publicly bid. The check was sent without council's knowledge, members have said.


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