December 21, 2014

Elyria
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Appeals court upholds firing of Lorain city official

Charles Camera

Charles Camera

ELYRIA — An appeals court has upheld the firing of former Lorain Street Commissioner Charles Camera, who was convicted last year of misdemeanor charges of theft and tampering with records.

Camera, who spent more than three decades with the city, was fired soon after he pleaded guilty in the case and was given a suspended four-month sentence.

He also had been ordered to repay $10,000 to Lorain Youth Baseball, for which he had served as president.

Camera has acknowledged problems with keeping records for the league, although he and his lawyers have denied he stole money.

An investigation by the Ohio attorney general’s office determined that the league could not account for roughly $230,000 in proceeds from charity instant-bingo games that Camera ran at bars to raise money.

After being fired by the city, Camera appealed to the city’s Civil Service Commission and, after losing there, to the court system.

His attorneys had argued that Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Miraldi abused his discretion when he upheld Camera’s termination, but the appeals court disagreed.

The appeals court wrote that the firing was supported by the evidence, including the convictions and Camera’s own words when questioned about whether he had done anything wrong.

“The conduct underlying his criminal convictions and his attitude with respect to the conduct serve to emphasize the inseparability between his dishonesty outside of work and the City’s concern regarding his continued employment,” the appeals court wrote in its decision.