September 22, 2014

Elyria
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Former chief deputy recorder has record sealed

Phil Betleski

Phil Betleski

ELYRIA — A visiting judge on Friday agreed to seal the felony conviction of former Lorain County Chief Deputy Recorder Phil Betleski for theft in office.

Betleski, 57, did not attend the hearing before Visiting Judge Charles Wittenberg, but his attorney, Doug Merrill, read a letter the former Lorain Councilman had written.

Betleski wrote that he has had difficulty finding work since he pleaded guilty to theft in office in 2009 for taking more vacation time than he was entitled to while working for the county.

He wrote that after he was convicted he briefly worked for the U.S. Census Bureau and received training in geographic information science and truck driving but still has been unable to find a steady job and remains unemployed. He also added that he hasn’t gotten in trouble with the law since he was convicted.

“I have been a dependable, honest citizen since sentencing,” Betleski wrote.

But Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Allan Regas argued against expunging Betleski’s record, saying the public and future employers had a right to know about his crimes.

“This should not be shrouded from scrutiny going forward,” he said.

Betleski abruptly resigned from his job on July 28, 2008, after an argument with county Recorder Judy Nedwick over him taking a scheduled vacation while she was out of the office. While he was off, digital photos and videos that were “personal in nature” were found on his work computer.

Although Betleski wasn’t charged in connection with the images, his replacement found that Betleski had begun to award himself an extra week’s vacation in 2004.

The investigation determined that he took an extra 150 hours off during his time with Nedwick’s office and was paid $6,221 for 197 unused vacation hours when he resigned. He also cashed out 1,000 unused sick hours worth $31,500 when he left, although he was legally entitled to the money.

After pleading guilty, he was placed on probation and ordered to repay the county $5,599.

Regas said after the hearing that while he respected Wittenberg’s ruling, he disagreed with the decision and will likely appeal.

Betleski, who now lives in Seattle, is the brother of Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Mark Betleski and the son of the late Judge Adrian Betleski.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.


  • Beentheredonethat

    This “deal” stinks!

  • Larry Crnobrnja

    And nobody gets charged with the crime of sick time payouts!

    STOP! THIEVES! STOP!

  • GreatRedeemer

    LOL yet another Lorain county politician seeking or receiving their criminal records sealed. Were here to serve the public. Lorain county sick pay policy and nepotisom policy needs to change. Its simply absurb.

  • Phil Blank

    He is a felon!
    Why not just seal everyone’s felony conviction so they can find work too!
    Why should he be so special, cause he worked the system for the system.

  • bigmacky

    NO – trouble finding work:? too bad – you shouldn’t have violated the public trust – now – go work in a factory or other manual labor positions

    • flyboySR20

      Don’t want him in a factory, either, because the larger the place, the easier it is to find someone to cover for you there, too. Wired in, had a sweet job, effed up, now he can’t find work? Why doesn’t he join the Cuyahoga County ilk that’s now serving sentences? Name the county, name the state, name the country, and there’s corruption and nepotism.

  • Daniel Sutter

    And yet they wonder why there is no public trust. Corruption at its usual.

  • Americaschild

    Another crminal gets a pass! a political pass. Let the honest soul get a job and let this crook move on. This deal really stinks.

  • GreatRedeemer

    I find it interesting that an expunged record can be seen by certain employers such as schools, daycares, police departments and nursing homes; yet political offices or government jobs have no such disclosure.