Saturday, September 27, 2003

State fair director resigns under fire



By Liz Sidoti
The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - The director of the Ohio State Fair quit after denying allegations that he inappropriately accepted gifts.

Richard Frenette, manager of the Ohio Expositions Center since 1993, submitted his resignation Thursday at a regularly scheduled Ohio Expositions Commission meeting. Two days earlier, a report by the state watchdog uncovered a "proliferation of gift giving" from vendors doing business with the fair.

Frenette said allegations in Ohio Inspector General Tom Charles' report were unfounded. The report criticized him and other fair employees.

Commission Chairwoman Dorothy Jones said the commission will do a nationwide search for a replacement. Until one is found, Jones said the Expo Center's No. 2 man, Virgil Strickler, will take over.

Frenette said unsolicited gifts from vendors were used as door prizes at the annual holiday employee recognition dinner, and that previous assistant attorneys general had told him the practice was permitted.

"I realize now from this report that we followed bad advice," Frenette said. "As general manager, I take full responsibility for this, but I want to reiterate I did not personally accept any of these gifts."

The report said Frenette improperly accepted golf outings, meals and other gifts, including $898 in sports tickets from Philadelphia-based Aramark Corp., which operates food services on the fair grounds.

The inspector general's report also said that Frenette failed to address "the proliferation of gift giving over a period of years involving Expo officials."




TOP STORIES
Overnight storm causes heavy damage in Warren Co.
Rape victim jailed; accused freed
Injured athlete voted homecoming king
Strikers ready for long haul
2 families get $3.1M for claims

IN THE TRISTATE
Brand new on the menu: freshly painted Big Mac
Catholic schools scramble to reverse slide
'Survivor' sags in Cincinnati
Let's all talk about education
Catholic teachers mostly disagree with Ky. firing
School to open new building
Tests show bacteria in Loveland school water
27 home sick after ruling on overtime
School reunion unites West Side
Regional Report

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Bronson: Letting the homeless be squatters is inhumane
Howard: Good Things Happening
Faith matters: Families fight death penalty
McNutt: Marker dedication gives Black Brigade limelight

BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Crunch time near for Apple Festival
Cities to debate mall aid
Fernald projects shut down
Warren college director picks awaited

OBITUARIES
Richard Langenbeck, 80, was retired lawyer
Librarian Althea Lazenby found adventure in India
Kentucky obituaries

OHIO
ACLU sues over executions
Ohio's grid recorded at least 64 glitches
Cemetery offers free burial plot
State fair director resigns under fire
4 teens critical from bad weed
Bush leads all comers in Ohio
Pipeline project fined for violations
Pfeifer wins GOP nod - and nays
Workers hustle, boy gets heart
Ohio Moments

KENTUCKY
Fletcher health-care plan pushes Rx reform
Kentucky News Briefs
Governor debate at NKU
Do you know this donkey? He's lost and needs a home
Bishop backs diocese report
New school lunch program: Staff visits parents' homes
Lexington smoking ban halted
Kentucky To Go