Vindicator Logo

YOUNGSTOWN Gains rejects inquiry on card

By Bob Jackson

Saturday, October 27, 2001

The prosecutor considers the credit card situation a closed matter.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains will not ask the Ohio Ethics Commission to examine credit card charges incurred by Commissioner Vicki Allen Sherlock during a recent trip to Philadelphia.
Gains said he's satisfied that Sherlock did nothing wrong, and he's not taking the matter any further.
"I just don't see any violations," Gains said. "It's a moot issue."
Allegations surface: He was asked to look into the matter after allegations were made that Sherlock allowed a friend, Leo Jennings, to sign for items on the county's credit card while traveling with her.
Sherlock said she went to Philadelphia on a trip approved by commissioners to gather information and materials for a long-range development plan for the county. Jennings accompanied her, as did his and her children.
Expenses for the trip were charged to a county credit card. Gains said Sherlock paid the personal expenses involving Jennings and the children as soon as the bill arrived. The county did not pay it, he said.
She paid those costs, as well as costs for a trip Jennings was to take with her to Chicago in September, with a money order Oct. 5.
Gains said Ohio law allows such expenditures, as long as those costs aren't paid with public funds. Since Sherlock paid that part of the bill herself, there is no violation, he said.
Covering costs: Because of the controversy over the costs, Sherlock said she has submitted a check to pay for the entire Philadelphia trip, including the $888 that was approved by commissioners. The county has not paid that part of the bill, she said.
"I am taking this action because I do not want the baseless allegations that have been made against me to distract me from the goals I have set for myself and the county," Sherlock said in a written statement.
Gains had said he would examine the credit card bills and, if there were any irregularities, submit them to the ethics commission. He's not going to do that because there's no problem, he said. "If anybody wants to take exception to that, they can send this to anybody they want," he said. "I might be wrong, but I don't think so."