Details on assist. fire chief Ben Bultman's resignation - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

FOX19 Exclusive: Details on Fairfield Twp. assist. fire chief's resignation

Posted: Updated: Sep 25, 2012 11:56 PM
Ben Bultman Ben Bultman
FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) -

FOX19 has learned new information in the resignation of Fairfield Township Assistant Fire Chief Ben Bultman.

Sources say Bultman used his computer expertise to access highly confidential documents within the township's computer system.

Among the documents was a psychiatric evaluation of former Fire Chief David Downie which Bultman gave to Downie before he was fired. The Butler County Sheriff's Office and the FBI began a criminal investigation shortly before Bultman resigned on Thursday.

Prior to Downie's termination, dozens of supporters protested at all of the townships meetings, even wearing "I support David Downie" t-shirts. During those meetings Downie was privy to some of the information being prepared by the township's attorneys and trustees. The information was ultimately used to terminate Downie, according to sources.

Last Thursday, Bultman was interviewed by investigators and admitted to accessing information he was not authorized to access, including evidence, discovery and attorney/client work product in a pending lawsuit a friend has against the township. Sources confirm he also  accessed the information and got confidential personal information on the administrators and trustees who were working to fire him.

Upon being presented with these issues, Bultman apologized, withdrew his name from consideration for the fire chief job and resigned.

After concluding their investigations, neither the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Butler County Sheriff's Office felt they had enough evidence to support a crime being committed and declined to seek an indictment on Bultman.

During a meeting at the Fairfield Township Administration Building on Tuesday night, details of Bultman's resignation were discussed. Bultman hacked into restricted areas over an extended period time, according to a public announcement by Fairfield Township. He also allegedly downloaded and redirected stored information then admitted to sharing the information with others, including Downie.

The process of interviewing candidates for the fire chief position and Chief Trish Brooks will serve on an interim basis until a new chief is appointed. The township says it is ready to move on and promoted one man to assistant fire chief and the other to captain.

"Both of these men, Matt Shuman and Jordan Gula are extremely intelligent, are very good at their job, well trained, they have good educations and they're absolutely ready for the job," said Interim Fire Chief Trish Brooks.

The Trustees also said they appreciated the efforts of personnel, the FBI, Sheriff Jones and his detectives for their work on the investigation.

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