Allowed to RETIRE?; Ex-MPD Officer William Clemons gets a year for complicity to fraud.

Husband, wife going to prison for booster club scandal

The look of Corruption, knowing the BOOK should have been thrown at him.

The look of Corruption, knowing the BOOK should have been thrown at him.

While Kendall Clemons was telling the Social Security Administration she was unable to work, she was collecting $300 a week as bookkeeper for the Mansfield Tyger All Sports Booster Club.

“She said all she could do was sit in front of the window and watch traffic go by,” Richland County Common Pleas Judge James DeWeese said Monday.

Clemons and her husband, William, a former Mansfield police officer, were sentenced to a year in prison for their roles in the improper use of more than $200,000 in scholarship money.

Co-defendant Cheryl Patrick was sentenced to two years probation. The defendants pleaded guilty April 4.

The attorney general’s office began investigating the booster club in 2010 after accusations the club was not turning over enough of its proceeds to the school. Authorities said money was used to pay for costs associated with the booster club’s bingo operation.

“The money turned out to be too tempting for the defendants,” DeWeese said.

The defendants claimed they took money out of the scholarship trust as a last-ditch effort, approved by attorneys, to fend off threatened foreclosure of the bingo hall.

“This is not what the evidence shows,” DeWeese said.

Assistant Ohio Attorney General Brad Tammaro elaborated when he addressed the court.

“Attorneys were not told specific things when they were giving this advice,” he said.

Tammaro said attorney John Allen did not know of the trust agreement and wasn’t told the money was to be used only for scholarships.

“They created a special scholarship trust with the intent that the money would be untouched,” Tammaro said.

The Mansfield Tyger All Sports Booster Club was created in 1992. It ran concession stands at sports events and a bingo game to earn money. It set up a scholarship trust as a separate entity, with $200,000 deposited to generate interest to be used strictly for scholarships for student athletes.

According to prosecutors, booster club officials were told after a March 2007 inspection that the club could not pay managers to run its bingo operation.

The booster club rented space for its bingo games on Trimble Road, then bought the building, which became a money pit.

Through Allen, boosters negotiated with Foundation Academy to buy the building.

Kendall Clemons pleaded guilty to one count of complicity to attempted aggravated theft, two counts of grand theft, one count of complicity to attempted theft, one count of complicity to attempted money laundering and four counts of filing false and/or fraudulent tax returns.

She received the prison sentence for grand theft and got five years probation on the other charges.

She also will make restitution of $26,000 to the escrow account set up by the court as a result of a civil action previously filed by the attorney general’s office, which will distribute the funds at the conclusion of the legal proceedings in the case.

DeWeese called her the “mastermind” of the operation. The judge also ordered her to pay back $67,770 to the Social Security Administration.

Defense attorney George Keyser made a case for his client.

“Everything that Kendall did relative to the trust was with the advice of three separate attorneys,” he said.

Kendall Clemons denied any illegal intentions.

“We in no way wanted to abscond with this money,” she said. “We did this with the advice of attorneys because we were in over our heads.”

None of said attorneys were at Monday’s hearing.

William Clemons pleaded guilty to one count of complicity to attempted aggravated theft. He also pleaded guilty to three counts of filing false and/or fraudulent tax returns.

The former police officer, wearing a motorcycle T-shirt and blue jeans, received a year for attempted aggravated theft and five years probation for the other charges.

He agreed to pay $12,000 in restitution to the escrow account. He was a city police officer for more than 24 years. He retired last July after charges came to light.

Defense attorney Mark Cockley said the case had taken a toll on his client.

“I can tell you in no uncertain terms, this has just short of killed Bill,” Cockley said.

Clemons apologized for any embarrassment he caused and said he did not knowingly do anything wrong. He told DeWeese he was ready to accept his punishment.

Patrick pleaded guilty to three counts of attempting to file incomplete, false and/or fraudulent tax returns for 2008, 2009 and 2010. All are first-degree misdemeanors. She also agreed to pay $36,000 in restitution to the escrow account.

Patrick was the booster club president. Kendall and William Clemons were trustees. Mansfield City Schools severed its ties to the club in December 2010.

The case was investigated by the attorney general’s office Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission. Tammaro said many students lost out on scholarship money.

“That can never be repaired,” he said.

DeWeese cited a lack of remorse on the part of the defendants and noted all three of them treated the money as tax-free revenue.

mcaudill@gannett.com
419-521-7219
Twitter: @MNJCaudill

What others are saying…

  • Rilda Burchfield · Top Commenter · John Marshall

    ONCE AGAIN SOMEONE WHO WORKS IN LAW ENFORCEMENT GOT CAUGHT WITH THEIR HANDS IN THE COOKIE JAR.NO MATTER HOW YOU LOOK AT THIS PEOPLE WHO WORK IN LAW ENFORCEMENT SEEM TO GET A LIGHTER SENTENCE.IF THAT WAS ME THEY WOULD HAVE BURIED ME WITH AS MANY YEARS AS POSSIBLE.AND THEY ALLOWED HIM TO RETIRE WITH HIS BENEFITS BEFORE BEING CHARGED.WAITING ON THE NEXT MANSFIELD CORRUPTION BOOK TO COME OUT.HOPEFULLY OUR NEW CHEIF OF POLICE TIGHTENS UP ON THE POLICE FORCE.WE CAN ONLY HOPE FOR EQUALITY FOR EVERYONE AND NOT JUST FOR THE CHOSEN FEW WITH A UNIFORM AND A BADGE. – “TELL IT LIKE IT IS” – Could not have said it better!
  • Lori Vocal Webb

    Mansfield has been a corrupt town everyone pointing a finger at each other, this has not been the first with someone in law enforcement scandal and it surly will not be the last.
  • Tina Burke Clemons · Bucyrus, Ohio

    My question is, What about all the private clubs (mainly veteran’s clubs) that Kendall had her hands in that lost a lot of money? Are there charges pending there or are the veteran’s just out of luck after they gave a portion of their lives for our freedoms?
  • Robert William · Ashland High School

    I love you Grizz your the best big brother a guy could have.
  • Gordon John Wendling · Top Commenter · Mansfield, Ohio

    This account was set up to never be able to be touched, so how can an attorney brake into it and not know all there was to be known about it? I think the Bar association needs to act on this! – Hmmmm?
    • James E. Gadd Jr. · Crestline, Ohio

      YES GORDY A LONG LOOK AT THIS IS NEEDED.
    • Dave Renner · Mansfield Senior High School

      This is just sad, have know him most of my life. Big loss to the City he really cared a lot for the people. Now you know how he did it! – Now lets see how “the people” care?
    • Karen Elswick · Top Commenter · North Central State College

      no he cared about himself, that’s why he’s in this mess!!
    • Tim Clark · Top Commenter · Mansfield, Ohio

      Dave Renner …” he really cared a lot for the people.” So much so that he earned a six-month suspension for ‘caring’ a little too much a few years ago while on duty. Had the then-Safety Director followed the advice of the police chief and fired him, none of this current scandal/drama would have happened.
    • Hailey Kinnamon · Works at Hailey Kinnamon Photography

      You have no idea what you are talking about Steve so sad you are trying to be a side line judge in regards to other people’s lives. If you had three attorneys telling you what you can and cant do with the money I bet you would listen – Anyone listening to an Attorney in Mansfield SHOULD have their head examined. MP
      • Melinda Soria Hall · Mansfield Senior High School

        So where were the three attornies who were giving this advice? If that was really true they would be named and brought into this. Did they also advise them to file false tax returns and lie to steal from social security? Some people just get greedy and no matter how many excuses they have stealing is wrong. Touche! MP
      • Hailey Kinnamon · Works at Hailey Kinnamon Photography

        I’m not getting into this because it’s over now but all three were dragged into this and testified on the advice they gave. The case is more complicated than the media would report. Don’t believe everything you read in the news. The atty general wants to get his seat in the Senate so he’ll spin this story as him putting the big bad wolf away
      • Melinda Soria Hall · Mansfield Senior High School

        Hailey Kinnamon so I guess they are just poor innocents without half a brain between them who followed the advice of evil attorneys. When will people accept responsibility for their actions? Must be too much to ask of this society we live in now.
      • Hailey Kinnamon · Works at Hailey Kinnamon Photography

        Sure Melinda. Have a good night
      • Steve McManes · Galion, Ohio

        A slap on the wrist as usual !!!!!!!!! should get 20 years !!!!!
        • Jeff Secrest · North Central State College

          No Steve a miss understanding again Mansfield Schools you dont think they had a clue or a hand in this come on the schools miss manage more that this and they get probation The school system just want more cash just like out our pocket they new this problem was there
        • Karen Elswick · Top Commenter · North Central State College

          Jeff Secrest no the schools had nothing to do with this whole mess, when they asked to see the records mr. clemons told them no, it was none of their business, and yes he is a great guy who took thousands of dollars and told everyone ” I am the law” yea great guy!!  Coming from the Sister of Chris Elswick who has his hands in CORRUPTION of his own, like cameras that DON’T WORK that would have shown a teacher pulling ones hair who was involved in a fight which got them suspended. Sure the cameras don’t work, especially when we want everyone to believe the adults – lol!
        • Melinda Soria Hall · Mansfield Senior High School

          I agree with you. Where is the sympathy for all the kids who lost out on scholarships? Nobody wants to take responsibility for their bad choices but the sentences could have been a lot longer.
        • Karen Elswick · Top Commenter · North Central State College

          I think they should have been alot longer, and what about all the other people involved with this whole fiasco, they got off scott free!!  That’s how Mansfield rolls, ain’t that right Karen Elswick? Brother Chris is an angel – lol!
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