2011-09-24 / Editorials & Letters

Candidate says Watkins hasn’t repaid township for illegal payments


When I was circulating my petition, I was frequently asked if Donny Watkins paid back the township for his illegal insurance reimbursement scheme. The answer is NO.

It’s unlikely any of the nearly $3,000 he received will be recovered. Though he claimed he would pay it back “if he had to,” it appears he won’t.

Ohio law is clear. A trustee can’t be reimbursed for insurance at the same time they are participating in the taxpayerfunded health insurance plan. He got his illegal monthly check until I refused to sign his checks and contacted the prosecutor.

Then I red-flagged the payments for our audit, hoping for a recovery from Watkins. Previous audits apparently hadn’t looked for this fraud. It required checking who was getting the insurance perk and then looking for any illegal reimbursements.

My red flags were removed and I was later told that that happened on the word of our fiscal officer who had written those illegal checks. I did get the auditor to include a written finding. Finding 2008-001 stated, “All Township Trustees participated in the Township’s insurance plan; however, one Trustee was also being reimbursed for Medicare premiums as well. As stated above, reimbursement under Ohio Rev. Code Section 505.60 is not permitted if an officer is participating in the township’s health care plan.”

Watkins tried to spin it away but it’s in black and white. What’s not there is his reimbursement. He’s snubbing his nose at us; you can send him a message on November 8.

Jeff Chorpenning
Bowling Green Township

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