DOVER — Richard Homrighausen has been suspended as mayor of Dover by the special commission appointed by Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor.
“I will comply with the order of the special commission,” the mayor said in a press release Wednesday.
“My compliance with the order of the special commission is not an admission of any wrongdoing as mayor. I will continue to defend the claims brought by the special prosecutor. I my innocence.”
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According to an April 6 announcement on the Supreme Court’s website, O’Connor appointed three former common pleas court judges to serve as a special commission to consider suspending Homrighausen in relation to felony charges relating to official conduct in office.
Their appointment followed a March 14 request from Robert F. Smith, assistant legal counsel in the Special Investigations Unit of State Auditor Keith Faber, to initiate the process.
Homrighausen has pleaded not guilty to 15 charges
Homrighausen has pleaded not guilty to 15 charges contained in a March indictment by the Tuscarawas County grand jury. They are theft in office, a third-degree felon; one count of having an unlawful interest in a public contract, a fourth-degree felon; six counts of incomplete, false, and fraudulent returns, all fifth-degree felonies; four counts of soliciting improper compensation, all first-degree misdemeanors; two counts of dereliction of duty, both second-degree misdemeanors; and one count of representation by a public official or employee, a first-degree misdemeanor.
State auditor determined Homrighausen performed 231 marriages between January 2014 and May 2021 and received payments totaling $9,295 in cash and checks that he failed to remit to the city. He is charged with failing to report the income on tax returns. Two charges relate to the employment of the mayor’s son, Peter, with the city.
A jury trial in Homrighausen’s criminal case is scheduled for Sept. 20 before Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Judge Elizabeth Lehigh Thomakos.
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Homrighausen has been mayor for the past 30 years.
“I love Dover. It is our shining city on a hill to which I will continue to dedicate my life,” he said in his press release. “I look forward to continuing as your mayor once procedures have taken their course. We still live in a country where you are innocent until proven guilty. I continue to encourage all Dover citizens to keep a watchful eye on their city government.”
The mayor’s defense attorney, Mark R. DeVan, had no further comment.
Council President Shane Gunnoe said the city has not received official notification of a suspension, so he could not make any comment.
Homrighasen Press Release 4-24-2022 by Chris Pugh on Scribd
This article originally appeared on The Times-Reporter: Richard Homrighausen suspended as mayor of Dover