LIMA — Allen County Sheriff Sam Crish will resign from office effective Jan. 31, the latest chapter in a series of escalating personal and legal issues that seem to be spinning out of control.
Allen County Board of Elections Chairman Keith Cheney announced the resignation Tuesday afternoon.
The announcement is the latest issue with Crish, whose problems began growing in September when the FBI raided his office. The FBI has an ongoing investigation against Crish, but he has not been charged with any crime. An FBI spokeswoman said Tuesday she has nothing new to report.
“The main thing here is, by receiving this letter of resignation, we are able to move forward,” Cheney said.
Crish was re-elected sheriff in November as the only person on the ballot. He was first elected in 2008.
Letter of resignation
Crish turned his letter of resignation into his chief deputy, Jimmy Everett, who then provided Cheney with the letter. Cheney said Crish called him Sunday evening notifying him of his plans to resign. The conversation was short, and Crish did not go into a reason, only saying he was going to resign, Cheney said.
Crish could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but his attorney, Mike Rumer, said Crish felt it was best to retire to concentrate on his legal issues and get on with his life. Crish said in October he has a gambling addiction for which he is receiving treatment.
“Sam is retiring and resigning from the sheriff’s department and continuing his rehabilitation on his addiction problem. He wants to concentrate on reimbursing the people he legitimately owes and defending the litigation that was filed that he does not owe,” Rumer said.
Cheney did not know why Crish chose the Jan. 31 date.
Cheney also said the public should be assured the Sheriff’s Office and the staff will continue working to maintain the safety of the community.
Lima Police report
In another matter related to Crish that just surfaced, 57-year-old David Jennison was listed as a victim in a Dec. 21 police report over possible threats made. Jennison could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The Lima News contacted the Lima Police Department seeking a report involving Crish in an incident at St. Rita’s Medical Center last month. Police officials provided the Jennison report. The report was heavily redacted, with the name of an uncharged suspect blacked out.
The narrative of the report said a threat was made at St. Rita’s Medical Center during a meeting. The threat allegedly was something along the lines of “going to kill” another person, according to Lima Police Department records.
A staff member called someone whose name was redacted for advice, and that person then called Lt. Andy Green at the Lima Police Department.
Green spoke to Chief Kevin Martin. Green went to a home to inform a person of the threats as part of the “duty to warn.” He said the person was extremely upset and made statements that he would be calling news media and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, according to police records.
In the report, Green said he did not have information from the person who actually heard the threat.
The name of a suspect has been redacted, as well, but there is identifying information that listed the person as a white man, 6 foot tall with brown hair and blue eyes.
Rumer declined to comment on the incident.
Shortly after the FBI raided Crish’s office in September, former Lima City Councilman Ray Magnus filed a lawsuit against Crish seeking $102,000 he said he let Crish borrow.
“I was very sad to hear that Sam Crish resigned today. I was hoping his problems could be worked out,” Magnus said Tuesday. “Now that he has resigned, I hope he takes his time to look at his life and what it’s been and where it’s headed and make it right with all the people he owes money to so he can leave it behind him and get on with his life.”
Two other men filed smaller lawsuits in December alleging Crish requested loans on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office saying the money would be used for a sheriff’s dog training program. The money was not repaid.
Just this month, Allen County commissioners received notice that Crish’s two bonds he holds for office, one for a furtherance of justice fund and another one elected officials are required to have, would both be canceled Feb. 10.
In January, convicted drug dealer Demond Liles, filed an appeal, in part saying he let Crish borrow $20,000 and then Crish used the drug task force to set him up and entrap him into committing felony drug crimes to get out of paying his debt. Crish denied the allegations at the time.
Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.