Jesse Hathaway vs. Corruption in the Athens City Auditor’s Office
Jesse Hathaway of the Athens Runway blog shows how anyone can quickly become a nightmare for career politicians via record requests and sending findings to the Ohio Ethics Commission or tough law enforcement officials like Prosecutor Dave Yost. Well Done!:
Athens City Auditor Kathy Hecht says a referral to the Ohio Ethics Commission regarding her son’s past employment with the city was a factor in her decision not to run for county auditor.
The Messenger previously reported that the Ohio Ethics Commission has been asked to determine whether Hecht violated the state’s ethics law when her son worked for the city auditor’s office several years ago. Special Prosecutor Dave Yost referred the matter to the state agency after he received documents from an anonymous source about the issue.
“I have received a package of documents anonymously regarding your son Paul Hecht, alleging that you hired him as an employee in your office,” Yost wrote in a letter received by Hecht’s office on Jan. 15. “This action, if true, would appear to violate Ohio’s nepotism law as well as the conflict of interest statue.”
Hecht, in a letter sent to The Messenger and other media outlets, said she had already been in contact with the Ethics Commission prior to receiving Yost’s letter. She said that shortly after announcing an interest in running for county auditor, her office received a number of public records requests. In an e-mail interview, Hecht said those public records requests came from Jesse Hathaway, who is a senior at Ohio University.
Hathaway said Saturday that he made the public record requests this past summer. He said after hearing about the city’s financial struggles as well as rumors that Hecht’s son had worked in her office, he decided to take a look at the city’s financial records and its payroll records in particular.
“People I talked to had told me, ‘We heard that she hired her son in her office and it might be worth checking out,’” Hathaway said.
Hathaway said after reviewing the financial documents provided by the auditor’s office and seeing Paul Hecht’s name on the auditor’s office payroll, he contacted the Ohio Ethics Commission about the matter. Hathaway also admitted that he was the individual who anonymously sent the packet of information to Yost.
“I stumbled upon something I felt should be looked into by the Ethics Commission,” Hathaway said. “And Dave Yost has a reputation of being a noted corruption buster.”
When asked whether she thought the individual who submitted the documents to Yost was politically motivated, Hecht, who is a Democrat, responded by e-mail, “Absolutely.”
Hathaway said he is a member of the Ohio University College Republicans, but denied that politics had anything to do with his decision to send the documents to Yost.
“Politics didn’t even enter into this equation,” Hathaway said. “I would have done the same thing if Kathy was a Republican.
“Citizens have a duty to act as watchdogs on their government,” Hathaway added. “This is just democracy in action.”
When asked whether she thought Yost, a Republican, was politically motivated in referring the matter to the Ethics Commission, Hecht said yes.
Yost is the special prosecutor in former chairman of the Athens County Democratic Party Susan Gwinn’s case and, in his letter to Hecht, said he believed the documents were sent to him because of his involvement in the Gwinn case. Yost, in his letter to Hecht, said he did not conduct an investigation into Hecht’s son’s employment other than reviewing the documents he had received.
When asked Saturday to respond to Hecht’s assertion that Yost may have been politically motivated in turning the issue over to the Ethics Commission, Yost said, “I did my duty and I kept my mouth shut about it. I don’t have anything else to say.”
- Jesse Hathaway on Dave Yost & DeWine
- Jesse Hathaway at CPAC
- Athens City Law Director, a Democrat, Calls Upon Athens Dem Chair Susan Gwinn to Resign
- Former Athens County Democrat Chair Susan Gwinn Threatenes Student With Libel Suit
- More Corruption Details at the Governor’s Office- Inmates and Alcohol