OHIO Complaint accuses judge of public ethics violations

The complaint alleges he ordered secretaries to type personal paperwork.
COLUMBUS (AP) -- A Franklin County judge reportedly used court employees to type term papers for his children, prepare paperwork for his wife's business and perform other personal tasks, according to a complaint to the Ohio Supreme Court.
The allegations against Probate Judge Lawrence Belskis are contained in an amended complaint filed by the Dayton Bar Association last month with the high court's 28-member panel that regulates conduct of judges and lawyers. A hearing is scheduled for October.
Michael L. Close, Belskis' attorney, denied the allegations, saying, "We will present witnesses to rebut all of the charges."
The Dayton bar was appointed two years ago to investigate after the husband of Belskis' former secretary complained. An initial series of complaints was filed against Belskis in late 2003.
The new complaint accuses the judge of theft in office and public ethics violations, which are fifth-degree felonies and first-degree misdemeanors, respectively.
The complaint alleges that Belskis ordered secretaries on court time to type leases involving his wife's business, type term papers for his children and prepare campaign paperwork, among other things.
Belskis is also accused of failing to reveal on annual financial-disclosure statements gifts like rounds of golf and meals from lawyers and others.
The violations reportedly took place mostly between 1991 and 1999, according to the complaint.
Close said private attorneys were hired to prepare leases and other business documents and that the other allegations are also untrue.

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