Wapakoneta mayor charged with 17 public corruption charges after state investigation

WAPAKONETA — The mayor of Wapakoneta has been charged with public corruption charges following an investigation into business dealings while in his elected position, according to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

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Thomas Stinebaugh was indicted by an Auglaize County grand jury on 17 charges, including eight counts of having an unlawful interest in a public contract, eight counts of conflict of interest, and one count of theft from office, a spokesperson for the Ohio AG’s Office said in a media release Friday.

Stinebaugh was investigated for his alleged dealings with family members and a business partner. State investigators said Stinebaugh used his position as mayor to enter into contracts with those family members and business partner.

Stinebaugh is also accused of having the city pay for a sewer line on a piece of property his private company was developing.

“This case is a textbook example of public corruption: the leveraging of a public position to gain improper personal benefits,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in the release.

“The taxpayers of Auglaize County deserve better and we’re going to ensure that no one is above the rule of law.”

Yost said suspension proceedings will be initiated for Stinebaugh. State law allows for public officials who have been charged with a felony to be suspended if the charges relate to the performance of their official duties.

The case was investigated by the Ohio Ethics Commission and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the spokesperson said.

Additional details were not released. We’ll update this story as we learn more.