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Shiner: Harry Fishleigh Did Not Tell City About Conviction

The former chairman of the Mentor Planning Commission did not tell the city about his federal conviction

Harry Fishleigh III did not tell the city of Mentor about , Mentor City Council President Robert Shiner said.

When asked if and when Fishleigh, the former chairman of the Mentor Planning Commission, disclosed his conviction to the city, Shiner replied, "He didn't."

Shiner said that he heard a rumor Wednesday afternoon that Fishleigh had been charged with a crime and asked Mentor Assistant Law Director Joseph Peter Szeman to look into it.

Szeman found that Fishleigh was not just charged, but convicted, of embezzlement in the Northern District of Ohio U.S. Federal Court.

Fishleigh had pleaded guilty Sept. 27. He is out on a $20,000 bond and will be sentenced Dec. 21.

According to the information filed against, he embezzled $97,000 from a retirement plan that he was in charge of. .

Fishleigh is not accused of taking money from the city of Mentor. Instead, the allegations stem from his role as the trustee of the North Coast Wood Products Profit Sharing Plan

According to the Labor Department, Fishleigh improperly transferred $97,000 in plan assets to his son, Steven Fishleigh.

Fishleigh was president and part owner of Mentor-based North Coast Wood Products, which closed in late 2005.

After he was convicted, Fishleigh .

According to the city of Mentor's web site, a commission member can be removed if he or she is convicted of a felony while in office.

When the city confronted Fishleigh with its findings, he resigned from the Planning Commission, Shiner said.

The body of Fishleigh's resignation letter does not mention his federal charge or conviction. It reads, "Please accept this letter as notice of my resignation from the Mentor Planning Commission, effective immediately."

Shiner said he and other Council members had no way of knowing about Fishleigh's conviction because federal court records require a password, which one must pay for, to search them.

Additionally, he noted, his conviction had not been reported by any media outlet at the time he first heard the rumor.

Fishleigh was also a member of the Board of Trustees until Thursday.

He resigned from that board, as well.

His resignation letter to Library Director Lynn Hawkins was similarly brief. It read, "Please accept this letter as notice of my resignation from the Board of Trustees of The Mentor Public Library. Sorry for the inconvience but this resignation is to be effective immediately."

Hawkins said Fishleigh never told her about his criminal charge or conviction either.

Shiner said City Council will start the process of replacing Fishleigh on the Planning Commission soon. Those who are interested can send their resume to .

Hawkins said the Mentor Schools Board of Education will likely begin the process to fill Fishleigh's vacancy soon.

Fishleigh has not returned a call seeking comment.

Fishleigh's resignation letter to the city is attached to this story as a PDF.

Charles Riffle November 03, 2011 at 11:06 PM
I guess none of these people were reading the News Herald in May, huh?
Jason Lea (Editor) November 03, 2011 at 11:38 PM
In May, Fishleigh was sued by the U.S. Labor Department. (I wrote about it too, by the way.) It was strictly a civil, as opposed to criminal, issue at the time. Fishleigh was not indicted until September. That's when it became a criminal matter. It may seem like splitting hairs but there's a difference.

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