► Akron Beacon Journal – 06/26/01 – Hearings set in double billing cases Print E-mail

Akron Beacon Journal – June 26, 2001 – Hearings set in double billing cases


Hearings set in double billing cases
Franklin County judge agrees to hear evidence
By Dennis J. Willard and Doug Oplinger
COLUMBUS: Charges against nine so-called "visiting judges" who were paid two days' wages for one day of work are to go to hearings in Franklin County Municipal Court later this month.
Judge David Jenkins, after grilling maverick judicial critic David Palmer, agreed to hear further evidence on May 30.
Palmer, who said he is looking out for taxpayers, said he obtained Ohio Supreme Court payment records showing numerous instances in which retired judges submitted bills for judicial work in two counties on the same day and received $804, or the equivalent of two days' pay.
The going rate is $402 a day, or an annualized pay rate of $104,520.
In 1997, Palmer brought the double billing to the attention of Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Moyer, who is responsible for recruiting and assigning retired judges to counties that need temporary help. In 1998, Palmer brought the issue to the attention of State Auditor Jim Petro.
In each case, Palmer was told the problem had been rectified.
So this week, he submitted documents and filed charges against nine visiting judges who continued the practice of double billing through the year 2000.
He said there may be more.
Among the nine are retired Medina County Common Pleas judges Judith Cross and Phillip Baird.
Cross has taken issue with one of the two dates and said she has reimbursed the state for the other.
Palmer has raised questions about nine dates in 2000 for Baird.
Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor David Buchman attended the hearing as a representative of the state and asked Palmer to provide a list of potential witnesses.
In another courtroom yesterday, Municipal Judge Charles A Schneider set a hearing for May 24 to consider Palmer's charges against retired Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Stephen Yarbrough regarding his meal expenses.
Lawyer Michael Close, representing Yarbrough, said he will show that Palmer's math is wrong and that he can't read paperwork.
While in Columbus, Yarbrough stayed in the apartment of Ohio Rail Development Commission executive director James Seney and paid Seney for that. Palmer contends that Seney should have reported the payments in his annual ethics disclosure statement.
Judge Schneider dismissed the complaint on a technical issue. Palmer said he will resubmit it.
Dennis Willard can be reached at 614-2224-1613 or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Doug Oplinger can be reached at 330-996-3750 or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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