The former auditor for the City of London pleaded guilty to theft in office before Judge Eamon Costello in Madison County Court of Common Pleas Wednesday.
Nicholas Szabo pleaded guilty to a bill of information, avoiding grand jury proceedings in the case.
Szabo, who resigned from the city auditor’s position in December of 2017, failed to reimburse the city for improper health insurance costs and orchestrated an unauthorized pay increase to a fellow employee.
He is scheduled to be sentenced for the fourth-degree felony on June 7.
State auditors found that Szabo acted dishonestly when some months after being elected to his position, he knowingly provided an outdated ordinance to a city payroll clerk stating the city was required to pay all of his health insurance costs. Szabo was aware of a newer ordinance that voided those health insurance benefits because he had handled those very matters when he acted as deputy city auditor, the statement said.
Szabo also gave the unauthorized pay raise to Debbie Elliott, a former clerk in his office in May 2016. The raise was caught by the city law director and later voided. Szabo also attempted to get a pay raise approved for Elliott during collective bargaining, but ultimately failed. Then, in December of 2016, Szabo signed a memorandum of understanding giving Elliott a pay raise of 4 percent, even though he was not authorized to do so, according to Yost’s office.
In a statement presented by London mayor Patrick Closser, the administration acted quickly at the first sign of chicanery.
“Without hesitation we contacted the State Auditor’s office with our findings and let these professionals do their investigation,” the statement read. “We would like to thank the efforts of Ohio Auditor Dave Yost, Special Prosecutor Bob Smith, their office and staff. The combined work of many has guaranteed the full recovery and return of all public monies to the City of London.”
Reach Andrew Garrett at 740-852-1616, ext. 1616.
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