XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) — Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Douglas Cozad is looking to have criminal charges against him dismissed.
Two motions have been filed in the Xenia Municipal Court aiming to have criminal charges against Cozad dismissed.
Cozad’s lawyer, James P. Fleisher, argues in the first motion that attorneys for the Auditor of State (AOS) should not be allowed to prosecute the case.
In the motion, Fleisher argues that the AOS did not notify Cozad of their intentions to pursue criminal charges against him. Fleischer cites Ohio Rev. Code § 117.29 saying “…a certified copy of the report shall be filed with the prosecuting attorney of the county in which the offense is committed, and the prosecuting attorney shall, within one hundred twenty days, institute criminal proceedings against the public official.”
Fleisher said that no such report was ever filed with the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office.
This motion also questions the involvement of Bellbrook resident John Stafford who allegedly “made various allegations that the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek School District and Dr. Cozad had used school funds and property to advocate for the passage of a school levy,” as Fleisher said.
The second motion focuses on how the AOS handled the charges.
According to Fleisher, the criminal statutes are unconstitutionally vague and violate Cozad’s right to Due Process.
Fleisher cites the Joint White Paper of BASA, OSBA and OASBA saying, “Ohio law is silent on what it means to ‘support or oppose’ or to ‘influence’ a levy or bond issue.” He goes on to argue that the criminal charges are vague and constitutionally impermissible.
Fleisher also said that several districts in the Miami Valley have sent out newsletters and postcards to promote their own levies.
“Upon information and belief, the State of Ohio has never criminally charged a school official under these statutes over alleged communications related to a school levy,” argued Fleisher.
The motions also request an evidentiary hearing.
Cozad is facing four counts of illegal transactions of public funds and four counts of dereliction of duty.