Yesterday’s arraignment of former City employee Heather Ernst marks the first day that the wheels of justice begin rolling in prosecuting her on eight felony counts for the theft of cash from the City’s two pools over multiple years.
“While this criminal case could take a significant period of time until a final verdict is known, we will not sit idly by doing nothing,” Mayor Donald J. Schonhardt said. “That’s why we filed a civil suit against Ms. Ernst which enables us to request that the Court freeze all of her assets. These assets will be needed to compensate the City for the funds she stole, and to reimburse the City for all costs spent in pursuing restitution.”
On behalf of the City, Law Director Tracy L. Bradford retained the services of Taft, Stettinius and Hollister LLP as special counsel to represent the City in this civil lawsuit.
The Hilliard City Council issued the following media statement today regarding the arraignment of a former employee and further legal actions. The statement may be attributed to Hilliard City Council President Albert Iosue.
“The arraignment of former City of Hilliard Deputy Director Heather Ernst is an important step forward in the legal process, as are the next steps of scheduling the pretrial and trial dates. We share the concerns of the Hilliard community about this issue, and we are committed to recovering the funds that allegedly were stolen.
“For that reason, the City of Hilliard, with the support of Hilliard City Council, this week filed a civil complaint seeking to recover full restitution. The damages sought also will seek to recover related costs to the City of Hilliard, including legal and investigative expenses.
“As this case progresses, we continue our work to evaluate and strengthen our financial systems. We will be vigilant in building robust compliance programs – that is our responsibility to our community.”
Council encourages residents with questions or concerns regarding this matter to send their inquiries to email@example.com.