ELYRIA — A county judge on Monday ordered the criminal record of former Avon Lake Mayor Vince Urbin sealed over the objections of prosecutors.
Urbin, who resigned as mayor in March 2001, was convicted of tampering with evidence, complicity to tampering with evidence and two counts of unlawful interest in a public contract.
He had been accused of steering about $2,745 worth of city business to the Fountain Bleau Party Center, which his brother, Daniel Urbin, managed and was trying to buy. He had also been accused of trying to hide a computer disk that included the names of campaign contributors from police.
Vince Urbin, 51, was later cleared of additional bribery charges.
“I’m truly sorry for the things that I was convicted of,” Urbin told Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Edward Zaleski.
Urbin, who now works for the Lorain County Community Action Agency, said he was trying to restore his good name. He has also worked as a community development officer for the county and a car salesman since leaving office.
“I am hopeful that my name will stand more for the good that I did than the bad,” he said.
Urbin’s criminal record has come back to haunt him in the years since he left office and served 90 days in jail and three years on probation. He had been offered the job of city manager in Newton Falls in 2007, but the offer was withdrawn after his conviction became public knowledge there.
Assistant County Prosecutor Peter Gauthier argued that Urbin had violated the public trust and that information needed to remain available to the public.
“The state feels that his record should remain as part of the court records so that any other business or municipality or entity that wishes to hire him will at least have the information available,” Gauthier said.
Paul Griffin, Urbin’s attorney, said that even with the court files sealed, his client’s conviction will never be a secret. There’s been too much media coverage of the case over the years that a potential employer wouldn’t be able to discover Urbin’s past.
Griffin said Urbin has been an upstanding member of the community, has completed his sentence and has no other criminal convictions. Under Ohio law, he said, that’s enough to qualify Urbin to have his record sealed.
“The purpose of this law, your honor, is to allow people to put their past behind them,” Griffin said.
Zaleski agreed and said Urbin met the statutory requirements to have his request for expungement granted.
After the hearing, Urbin said walked out of the courtroom to applause from the supporters who had crowded into the courtroom a few moments earlier.
“We’re just going to take this and we’re going to savor it and we’re going to just give thanks for our name being restored,” Urbin said.
Urbin said he doesn’t have any plans to seek a new job right now, “I presently have a very good job,” he said of his work for LCCAA.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.