October 20, 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.


  • Logdog39

    Hey,,, It’s a “Democrat thing” ! Even our president had ALL his records sealed ! If you have something to hide, then hide it ! No one will question you as to WHY ! Unless you’re NOT a Democrat !!!

  • oldruss

    This is troubling on several levels.

    First, he is the brother of a sitting Common Pleas Court judge, and so I would think it appropriate if all Lorain County Common Pleas Court judges, past and present recuse themselves from hearing his request to seal his record.

    Secondly, this is a former county official, the Chief Deputy Recorder for Lorain County, who held a fiduciary position of trust with the county. His conviction was not some random, unrelated, misdemeanor. It was FELONY Theft In Office. He stole from the taxpayers and used his position of trust as Chief Deputy Recorder for the county to committ the theft.

    Finally, the article said that Betleski was ordered to pay restitution to the taxpayers of Lorain County in the amount of $5,599; but the article did not say whether or not Betleski has actually paid that amount nor when he may have done so. Not knowing if he has paid full restitution, and when he may have done so. Did he drag his feet, and only pay restitution now, when he wants his record sealed?

    Anytime a public official is caught with their hand in the cookie jar, that breach of trust, that criminal offense, should remain on their record, and not be swept under the rug, and especially, it should not be swept under the rug because of whom they are related to, or what office of trust they once held.

  • Don Grantzki

    FOUR years is more than long enough for public “servants” to feed at the public trough. Anything longer brings “entitlement” that makes them believe they don’t have to abide by the same rules their “subjects” are required to do.
    Sealing this buffoon’s CRIMINAL records in no way makes him more attractive for further employment.

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  • Logdog39

    “Oldruss”, you have spoken very wisely ! Now, if we could just get SOMEONE to speak out this wisely about our president. Someone like our Speaker of the House. But, not to worry, Obama’s “secrets” are safe, because NO ONE CARES, and NO ONE has the BA!!S enough to DO IT ! Besides, what Court would issue an order ? The Democrats seem to control them ALL !!!

    • Mark B

      Not only that but the media would never mention it and would sweep it under the rug . The CT does the same thing with our Local Government.

  • KZ14

    He’s a criminal, no it should not be sealed Judge Burge this guy already got off too easy because of the click. He stole from us tax payers and he should pay for it, remember who pays your salary.