July 9, 2020
Columbus – Auditor of State Keith Faber’s Special Investigations Unit today announced developments in two cases in Belmont County. The former Mayor of the Village of Bridgeport entered pleas of guilty yesterday and, in a separate case, the former Belmont County Transportation Improvement Director Financial Manager was arraigned today.
David W. Smith plead guilty yesterday to one count of Theft in Office (F3) and one count of Conflict of Interest (M1). Smith was mayor of the Village of Bridgeport in Belmont County since November 2015 until he was suspended from office following his indictment on multiple charges in February 2020.
Smith’s plea acknowledged that between June 2016 and November 2019, he took cash payments for traffic citations from mayor’s court receipts, and removed the corresponding tickets, for his personal benefit. Smith also admitted to having a Village employee perform personal services for him, including childcare and banking, while on Village time.
An investigation and special audit by the Auditor of State’s Special Investigations Unit determined that from January 1, 2016, through September 30, 2019, $33,416 was unaccounted for from mayor’s court receipts.
Belmont County Common Pleas Judge John A. Vavra ordered a pre-sentence investigation and scheduled a sentencing hearing to take place on August 10, 2020.
Also in Belmont County but in an unrelated case, former Belmont County Transportation Improvement District financial manager Cory A. Clark, was arraigned today following his indictment July 1, on multiple felonies including one count of Theft in Office (F4), three counts of Tampering with Records (F3), and two counts of Forgery (F5).
Following a complaint by the Transportation Improvement District board, another investigation by the Special Investigations Unit found that Clark had improperly and without authorization altered amounts from what was approved by the board, and forged the signature of a board member to several checks payable to himself.
An attorney from the Auditor of State’s Special Investigations Unit has been appointed as a special prosecutor in both of these cases.