MACEDONIA -- Former Mayor Don Kuchta admitted he violated conflict of interest provisions of state ethics laws by instructing the city service department to place his home on the list for free snow plowing and garbage pick up for low-income seniors while he was serving as mayor, according to terms of a settlement agreement he signed in October with the Ohio Ethics Commission.
While the commission could have referred the complaint for prosecution, the commission determined the complaint should be addressed through its settlement authority based on mitigating circumstances.
According to the settlement, the mitigating circumstances include Kuchta's reimbursement of $525 for the cost of the garbage services and that the city law director had advised the plowing was needed so Kuchta would be able to respond to emergencies as the city's safety director. The commission also noted Kuchta cooperated with the commission's investigation and is no longer in office.
The commission found insufficient evidence to support allegations that he accepted fees for performing more than 60 marriages and did not turn funds charged for the services over to the city. The commission also found insufficient evidence to support an allegation Kuchta diverted a court order his wages be garnished to pay an outstanding personal debt of around $128,000.
Kuchta served as mayor from 2004-16. He opted not to seek another term in the November 2015 election.
The complaint had been field by Councelor Sylvia Hanneken.
Kuchta, who as mayor earned $55,000 per year, denied intentionally benefitting from the garbage service.
"That's the problem with being a public figure, because you are a target," he previously told the News Leader. "When people don't want you to be in power it's real easy to say something is wrong with you ethically, and that tarnishes you."
Eric Marotta: 330-541-9433