Saturday, April 21, 2001

Judge accused of over-billing since 1998

        COLUMBUS — A visiting judge has been accused of double- or triple-billing common pleas courts since 1998 at a cost of nearly $8,000 to taxpayers.

        David Palmer of Powell, who heads a judicial watchdog group, lodged the complaints against retired Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Stephen Yarbrough.

        The complaints were filed Wednesday in Franklin County Municipal Court.

        Mr. Palmer said he found 21 instances of Judge Yarbrough double- or triple-billing common pleas courts since 1998 and more than 250 instances of Judge Yarbrough submitting false meal expenses since 1997.

        Judge Yarbrough said Mr. Palmer complained about his billing in the past, but he had not seen the new complaints.

        The judge said he previously made mistakes on billing and worked it out with the Ohio Supreme Court.

        “The answer is: I don't think I did anything wrong,” he said.

        Meanwhile, Mr. Palmer has troubles of his own.

        He is defending himself against a January complaint by the state Office of Disciplinary Counsel alleging the unauthorized practice of law. Mr. Palmer is executive director of a cause he calls the Committee to Expose Dishonest and Incompetent Attorneys and Judges.

        Mr. Palmer said he intends to file similar complaints against Judge Yarbrough in Butler, Cuyahoga, Darke, Delaware, Lucas, Mahoning and Ross counties.


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