News: Dale Mallory Records Released

No surprises in police probe of mayor's brother

Jul 4, 2007 at 2:06 pm

We've all seen police say it in the movies or maybe even heard it in real life: "Move along, folks, there's nothing to see here."

The phrase usually is delivered by officers anxious to get people to look away from something they don't want examined too closely. Some West End residents say that's the implicit message in the Cincinnati Police Department's explanations for how it handled a criminal investigation into alleged wrongdoing by State Rep. Dale Mallory (D-West End).

Although Cincinnati Police spent about 233 days investigating allegations against Mallory by the West End Community Council, it generated only 14 pages of records — mostly photocopies of cancelled checks. Mallory is the brother of Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory.

No additional records exist besides the 14 pages previously given to CityBeat, an assistant police chief said last week — even though the investigation at one time involved two lieutenants and a sergeant and was briefly turned over to the FBI before that agency handed it back to the police department (see "Exonerated — Sort Of," issue of June 20).

'No doubt'
Lt. Col. Richard Janke, the department's second-in-command, last week elaborated on the process used in the investigation. Several West End residents who lodged the complaint against Mallory said police interviewed and recorded them in sessions that lasted an hour or longer. CityBeat asked whether it had received the complete file when it submitted a public records request last month.

"There are no transcripts," Janke said.

"Oftentimes, when there was no real dispute over the facts, there are no transcripts made."

Despite Janke's remarks, Mallory had contested at least one crucial fact during a June 14 interview with CityBeat. He alleged that a copy of a cancelled check for $1,119.19 containing his signature that community council members gave to police was a forgery. The check cleared out the group's bank account months after Mallory had been impeached as the council's president and removed from office.

"That thing was counterfeit, forged, faked," Mallory said last month. "I have no idea where they got that from."

But the police report stated, "Both Dale Mallory and Esther Williams (another impeached council officer) went to the National City Bank and withdrew all the funds from the WECC account. They used a counter check signed by both of them, made payable to cash, then obtained a cashier's check."

Janke replied that the relevant facts in the case were that the money was taken and most of it — $1,000 that was given to the YMCA for an art project — was returned. None of the funds were for Mallory's personal gain, Janke said. The remaining money went to buy boots for a local drill team.

"There was nothing in contention here," Janke said. "There's no doubt that the money ended up with the YMCA and was subsequently returned."

Once the investigation was launched, police saw that it was a fairly straightforward case, Janke said.

"It's not a particularly complex matter," he said. "Criminal culpability was decidedly lacking."

Community council members scoff.

"I guess anytime a stolen item is recovered, it negates the crime that has been committed," one member said.

Members allege police supervisors did a half-hearted investigation and deliberately didn't gather enough available evidence so the prosecutor's office would have no choice but to drop the case.

To be sure, Dale Mallory is politically well connected. His father, William Mallory Sr., was a state lawmaker for 28 years before retiring in 1994. Mark Mallory then held that Ohio House seat for four years before jumping to the state senate, which he left in 2005 to run for Cincinnati mayor.

Dale's brother, William Jr., is a Hamilton County Common Pleas judge; another brother, Joseph, is an elections administrator for the Board of Elections.

'All revealed'
As part of its records request, CityBeat asked if any correspondence or document was forwarded to the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office to base a decision to decline prosecution or if officers merely spoke to an assistant prosecutor.

"As you surmised, it was just a verbal presentation," Janke said.

When CityBeat interviewed Mallory three weeks ago, he said he was never notified that the investigation was completed, although police reports state the probe was closed in February. That's not unusual, Janke said.

"We don't routinely advise, necessarily, targets of investigations that a matter is closed," he said. "It's usually the complainants." Janke quickly corrected himself, adding, "In hindsight, I'm not sure it's fair to call him a target. He was a subject of an investigation."

In fact, the terminology used on the police closure report lists Mallory as "suspect/arrestee no. 1" and Williams as "suspect/arrestee no. 2."

Begun in June 2006, the police investigation was part of a rocky year for Mallory that also saw his impeachment as community council president amid revelations about his secret lobbying for City Link, a controversial project proposed for the West End, after he initially told the council he wasn't connected to the project.

In May 2006, Mallory wrote checks totaling $1,119 that emptied the West End Community Council's bank account, more than three months after his impeachment and a few weeks after his lawsuit seeking reinstatement was dropped. Mallory had said the money was for projects the council authorized earlier, but group leaders said no vote was ever taken and alleged Mallory acted in retaliation for his ouster.

The police investigation took seven months to complete, and at one time two lieutenants and a sergeant were assigned to the case. In mid-January a police spokesman said a detective had told him the matter was "complex," adding he "couldn't even give me an estimation on when they'll be bringing that to a resolution."

But records show the investigation already was completed at the time and had been turned over to the prosecutor's office, which declined prosecution Jan. 6. The police department formally closed the case Feb. 7.

Asked about the seeming discrepancy and differing police remarks about the case's complexity, Janke replied, "I don't think those are contradictory statements. ... I'm talking about the basic fact pattern, once it was all revealed."

West End residents who filed the complaint believe police purposely delayed the inquiry because it involved the mayor's brother and didn't want the publicity before last November's election, when Dale Mallory was a candidate for state office.

During Mallory's first six months in office — or one-quarter of his two-year term — he hasn't introduced any legislation, which is unusual for freshman legislators. ©