WAPAKONETA — Wapakoneta Mayor Thomas Stinebaugh pleaded not guilty to felony charges against him Tuesday, including theft in office and having an unlawful interest in a public contract.
According to our partners at the Sidney Daily News, Stinebaugh, 61, appeared in the Auglaize County Common Pleas Court for an arraignment hearing. He was ordered Tuesday to surrender his passport and the deed to his home while court proceedings continue.
Pleas of not guilty were entered on behalf of the mayor and lifelong Wapakoneta resident for the following charges:
- One count of theft in office, a third-degree felony;
- Eight counts of having an unlawful interest in a public contract, a fourth-degree felony
- Eight counts of conflict of interest, a first-degree misdemeanor
The Auglaize County grand jury filed the indictment for Stinebaugh on July 22. He is accused of entering into illegal contracts with family members and a business partner. He’s also accused of having Wapakoneta pay for a sewer line to a property that his private company was developing. The incident allegedly occurred between 2016 and 2019.
Assistant Attorney General Micah Ault said Stinebaugh “entered into numerous contracts in which he or a family member had an interest.” The ethics division of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office conducted the investigation into complaints against Stinebaugh.
Stinebaugh has maintained his innocence and said after the indictments were announced that he was “looking forward to clearing my name.”
As conditions of his $100,000 bond, in addition to putting his home up as collateral, the judge ordered that Stinebaugh not leave Auglaize County and that he have no contact with any individuals or entities listed as victims in the indictment.
The attorney general’s office has filed a motion to initiate proceedings to temporarily remove Stinebaugh from office pending the resolution of criminal charges.
A teleconference between the judge and attorneys was scheduled for Sept. 16 to update the status of filings in the case.
Stinebaugh was elected mayor of Wapakoneta in November 2015, defeating Rodney Metz. He was re-elected in 2019.