Ex-village worker sues state, claims malicious prosecution


The former fiscal officer for New Madison is suing the Ohio Auditor of State, claiming malicious prosecution after theft-in-office charges against the former village accountant were dismissed.

Wanda Lacey on Oct. 25 filed a lawsuit against the state auditor’s office in which she accused the auditor’s office of seeking felony theft-in-office charges against her despite having insufficient evidence .

The lawsuit, filed in the Ohio Court of Claims, seeks unspecified damages exceeding $100,000.

Lacey was indicted by a grand jury in December 2016 on two counts of theft in office after the auditor’s office concluded that an audit found she stole more than $21,500 from the township. The charges were dropped in September 2017.

RELATED: Village fiscal officer ‘negligent’ but theft in office charges dropped

Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost said Friday that the case was dismissed without prejudice because new evidence was discovered.

“The state anticipates the case will be re-filed after the newly discovered evidence has been analyzed,” he said. “The claim of malicious prosecution is without merit and will fail. A grand jury considered the evidence and found probable cause to believe that the crimes had been committed by the person charged.”

Royce Link, Lacey’s attorney, said the auditor’s office investigator mistakenly determined the money as missing without doing due diligence to find it in the village’s books.

“Whether she was just overly zealous, new to the job and wanted to make an impression and get somebody, whether she actually did not like Wanda Lacey, whether somebody else who worked in the village told her some stuff that set her on fire against her, those are the types of reasons why a person would do that,” Link said when asked why the state auditor’s office would falsely accuse his client.

RELATED: Ex-New Madison village worker accused of stealing more than $20K while in office

The charges resulted in Lacey losing her job, suffering physically and mentally and damaging her reputation, he said.

“You get charged with theft in office as an accountant, that’s pretty much going to make it hard to get a job,” he said.

While the theft charges were dropped, a separate audit released Thursday included an administrative finding against Lacey for not paying village taxes on time, incurring $8,166 in fees. Lacey and her bonding company were jointly ordered to repay the money.

Yost issued a statement, along with the audit, saying Lacey’s “negligence” cost village taxpayers money.

Link said Yost’s comments were an attempt to “mitigate the exposure” from Lacey’s lawsuit.

MORE LOCAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE NEWS:

Local jails overcrowded, failing safety standards, investigation shows

Sheriffs fear state plan will flood jails with felons

Montgomery County voting to settle another lawsuit against jail



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

Rep. Jim Jordan wants vote to impeach Deputy AG Rosenstein
Rep. Jim Jordan wants vote to impeach Deputy AG Rosenstein

Rep. Jim Jordan and House conservatives appear poised to force a floor vote on impeaching U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein even though Rosenstein is supervising the job of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. At a gathering of conservative Republicans on Capitol Hill this week...
Local site could be selected for federal driverless car designation
Local site could be selected for federal driverless car designation

When the Obama administration designated its first 10 pilot sites for testing of automated vehicle technologies in January 2017, a 4,500-acre facility in East Liberty was not on the list. This week, five Republican lawmakers and a handful of state senators including Senate President Larry Obhof, R–Ashtabula, held a press conference on Capitol...
First Lady’s spokeswoman may have misused official position in tweet about Trump's 2016 campaign, complaint alleges
First Lady’s spokeswoman may have misused official position in tweet about Trump's 2016 campaign, complaint alleges

A tweet by the first lady's spokeswoman from her official account containing a photo from the president's 2015 campaign rally and his campaign slogan may have violated a federal law that prohibits public employees from using their official capacity to conduct political activity, according to a complaint filed Monday with federal investigators. ...
Trump No. 1 in buying political ads on Facebook
Trump No. 1 in buying political ads on Facebook

It’s official: President Donald Trump is the single biggest political advertiser on Facebook.  Trump and his political action committee spent $274,000 on ads on the social network since early May, outpacing the second-biggest spender, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a nonprofit organization that provides reproductive health care...
How alleged Russian agent Maria Butina gained access to elite conservative circles
How alleged Russian agent Maria Butina gained access to elite conservative circles

For nearly five years, the young Russian political-science student was an unusual fixture at the most important events of the U.S. conservative movement.  Maria Butina, who was indicted this week on charges of being a covert Russian agent, struck up friendships with the influential leaders of the National Rifle Association and the Conservative...
More Stories