3 years probation for former Highland County commission clerk

Smalley fined $2K for misusing funds

By David Wright - [email protected]

Former Highland County Commission Clerk Rhonda Smalley was sentenced last week to three years of community control sanctions after she pled guilty to theft in office last month, according to court documents.

Smalley, 44, Peebles, appeared in court last Thursday for her sentencing hearing, during which Judge Rocky Coss ordered her to pay a $2,000 fine in addition to her sentence.

As previously reported, Smalley pled guilty in April to one count of theft in office and voluntarily cut a check for $2,845.22 to the county in restitution for government funds she reportedly spent on home improvements, gas and groceries.

Smalley resigned from her post in December last year after she was confronted for allegedly making unauthorized purchases on the county’s dime. She was later indicted on one count of theft in office, a fourth-degree felony, and one count of misuse of a credit card, a fifth-degree felony.

The credit card violation was dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

A bill of particulars filed in the case alleged that from July 28, 2017 through Nov. 12, 2017, Smalley used county-controlled credit cards to make purchases or charges totaling $2,845.22.

The bill said that on Dec. 7 last year, Commissioner Shane Wilkin called Smalley to confront her about the unapproved use of credit cards, and Smalley chose to resign when confronted.

After waiving her Miranda warnings, Smalley admitted that she used the cards without permission, the bill of particulars said.

“Smalley stated that she used the Wal-Mart card at the Hillsboro Wal-Mart to purchase groceries. Smalley admitted that she used the Lowe’s card on several occasions at the Hillsboro Lowe’s. Smalley advised that she was remodeling a home and ran out of money, and that she planned to pay it back,” the bill said. “Smalley advised that she knew she was not permitted to use the cards in the way she was.”

Court documents list unauthorized purchases at Speedway, Walmart and Lowe’s.

According to the bill, several items were delivered to Smalley’s home in Peebles and a signature on one of the receipts was Smalley’s.

Coss said at a previous hearing that a lien will be placed on Smalley’s pension interest to pay for court and prosecution costs, and she will be permanently forbidden from holding any public office or public employment in the State of Ohio for the rest of her life.

Smalley was represented by Mt. Orab defense attorney Bruce Wallace.

Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.

Smalley fined $2K for misusing funds

By David Wright

[email protected]