December 22, 2014

Elyria
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Former county recorder wants felony criminal case sealed


Phil Betleski

Phil Betleski

ELYRIA — Former Lorain County Chief Deputy Recorder Phil Betleski has asked that his criminal case file be sealed.

Betleski, 57, pleaded guilty in 2009 to a felony charge of theft in office for taking more vacation time than he was entitled to while working for the county.

The issue was discovered after he abruptly resigned from his job July 28, 2008, after a disagreement with county Recorder Judy Nedwick that centered on him taking a scheduled vacation while she was out of the office.

While Betleski was off, digital photos and videos that were “personal in nature” were found on his work computer, but Cuyahoga County prosecutors who handled the case declined to charge him over those images.

After his resignation, his replacement discovered Betleski had given himself an extra week’s worth of vacation, a practice he began in 2004. In total, he took an extra 150 hours off and was paid $6,221 for 197 unused vacation hours when he resigned.

Betleski also cashed out 1,000 unused sick hours for a total of $31,500, when he resigned, but the investigation determined he was legally entitled to that money.
Betleski, who also is a former Lorain city councilman, argued that Nedwick told him to take the extra vacation, something she has denied doing.

Visiting Judge Judith Cross, who handled the case because Betleski is the brother of county Common Pleas Judge Mark Betleski, sentenced him to probation and ordered him to pay the county $5,599 that he was overpaid.

County Common Pleas Judge James Burge has ordered an investigation to determine if Betleski is eligible to have his court case sealed.

He said right now he has no plans to bring in a visiting judge to make the final decision.
“Unless someone objects and has grounds, I will do it myself,” Burge said.

Betleski’s attorney, Doug Merrill, wrote in the request that his client is now living and working in Seattle and has had no legal problems since his 2009 conviction.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.