PREBLE COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) - The mayor of Gratis received a $100 fine and will have to pay court costs for signing papers that hired his daughter to a position with the village.
Gary Vest had pleaded guilty to unlawful interest in a public contract. After the sentence Judge David Abruzzo was clear about what he thought of the case.
"I have a little difficulty believing so much time and effort was put into prosecuting this case," Abruzzo said.
Vest could have faced a $1,000 fine and up to 6 months in jail.
Prosecutors asked for that maximum fine and community service instead of jail time, but Abruzzo openly questioned prosecutors about how they could justify that based on the facts of the case.
"It was just our attempt to make him accountable for what occurred," says Special Prosecutor Angie Canepa. "Obviously the court didn't feel it was as egregious as we felt it was."
In light of such a small fine, 2 NEWS wanted to know what it cost the county and state to get that fine.
So we called the Ohio Attorney General's Office.
They tell us the Special Prosecutor assigned is on salary so the cost wasn't anything extra, just time taken away from other potential cases.
Some in Gratis believe that time was worth it.
We went to the village to tell them about the sentence the Mayor got.
"Probably not much knowing what's been going on," said Andy Choate when we asked if he'd heard.
Choate thinks the Mayor should've faced harsher penalties.
"I don't understand where the justice is and how you get away with all that," Choate says.
Vest and his lawyer declined to speak to us after the case.
Vest remains mayor of Gratis and according to residents his daughter is still employed by the village.
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