Former Ottawa County Sheriff Shocked to Learn He Can't Spend Taxpayer Money on Himself

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Ignorance is happiness.
  • Ignorance is happiness.

“This shopping list is just incredible. The taxpayers’ belts are already tight — they shouldn’t have to pay for his belt too.” — Ohio Auditor Dave Yost

The fine folks of Cuyahoga County know a thing or two about public officials scheming, scamming, and being generally unworthy of our trust. Former Sheriff McFaul, who treated his job like a extremely part-time volunteer gig, is still fresh in our memory banks, as are a host of former employees now enjoying time in prison instead of cubicles.

It's helpful sometimes to know we're not alone. Public officials are scheming, scamming, and screwing the taxpayers all over the place. Maybe not as rampantly as on the shores of the Cuyahoga, but just as blatantly.

Which brings us to Bob Bratton, the former Ottawa County Sheriff. According to the Sandusky Register and a state audit, Bratton treated taxpayer money like a personal piggy bank.

The audit found he used $10,000 to load his wardrobe with freshness, including shoes, neckties, and belts. He also dipped into the funds to buy tickets to Cedar point, prescriptions, and more.

Oh, and there were belts, which gave Yost the ammunition for the one-line zinger above.

He's on the hook now to repay $7,200 to the county, but he won't be facing any charges. Why? Because Ottawa County never bothered to spell out what the office could and could not use the funds for.

Ottawa County prosecutor Mark Mulligan said Bratton will not be charged criminally because there were no clear guidelines governing purchases made with funds from the sheriff's furtherance of justice account.

“You bet your butt I made mistakes,” Bratton said. “I’m embarrassed about it. I’m sorry about it."

Ah, yes, the ole "You didn't tell me I couldn't do that" excuse. Apparently it doesn't just work for 12-year-olds, but also for grown-ass men.

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