Friday, August 27, 2004

On home turf, prosecutor's all the talk


West-Siders weigh in on aftermath, effects of affair

By Cindi Andrews
Enquirer staff writer

MORE COVERAGE
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WESTWOOD - The news of Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen's sexual relationship with a lawyer in his office was greeted with disgust, disappointment, disbelief - everything but disinterest - Thursday on his home turf.

"We've been going 50 miles an hour on that," said one patron lunching at Champions Grill and Bar in Westwood. "We know him."

It's not that Allen is a personal acquaintance of the Sayler Park Seniors, as the woman and her six lunch companions call themselves. It's that he's a fellow West-Sider. The prosecutor graduated from Elder High School, a Price Hill institution and the alma mater of a majority of Champions' owners.

But even though Allen is one of them, not all West-Siders are ready to let him off the hook.

"I think it's terrible, because he's got small children," said Rhonda Reidel, another of the Sayler Park Seniors. "What I don't understand is why a man would do that."

Reidel, whose grandson goes to Elder with Allen's son, said she voted for Allen in the past but wouldn't vote for him again. She won't have another choice; Allen is unopposed on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Another Champions diner, Mark Meyer of Bridgetown, went even further, saying Allen should resign. A boss should never have a relationship with an employee, he said, and the county's top lawyer should set a better example.

"I want (leaders) to have that moral high ground," Meyer said. "If I'm lying about that, what else am I lying about?"

Audrey Goettke was more appalled about the news coverage.

"I don't think it's anybody's business, myself," said Goettke, a Delhi Township resident. "There's lots more men than we know about that have done it."

Champions manager Nikki Betz was skeptical of claims the female assistant prosecutor outlined in a lawsuit filed in federal court Thursday, alleging Allen pressured her into the relationship.

"I just find it hard to believe that a woman was pressured to do that for four years," she said. "I don't see why it took her four years to say something."

Betz has never met Allen, but she's willing to give him the benefit of doubt.

"I think there's a lot more going on in the world that people should be worried about than what Mike Allen does in his love life," she said.

E-mail candrews@enquirer.com




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