MADEIRA, Ohio (FOX19) - Madeira’s city treasurer resigned this week after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor criminal offense involving his job.
Council accepted Steven Soper’s resignation Monday night. It takes effect immediately.
Soper, 61, served as the accounting officer for the city when he co-signed checks to a company he had an ownership interest in that provided IT services for Madeira, Hard Warehouse Technologies, court records show.
This occurred on or about Jan. 1, 2013 through, on or about March 31, 2014, the records state.
The company was paid $1,585.14, according to a single-count “Information” document alleging a charge of “attempt, having an unlawful interest in a public contract.”
This record shows Soper voluntarily gave up his right to have a grand jury consider the evidence against him, allowing the prosecutor’s office to bring the charge by way a simple court filing.
He signed a “Waiver of Indictment” Aug. 22, signaling he would plead guilty. The document also was signed by his attorney, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters and Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Tom Heekin.
Soper pleaded guilty Aug. 29 and was ordered to pay court costs and a $250 fine.
He did not respond to requests for comment.
The case was investigated by the Ohio Ethics Commission, a probe that began five or six years ago, said Assistant City Manager Lori Thompson.
Soper offered his resignation, she said, but could not respond to further questions about it, saying that was between him and council members.
The city still uses Hard Warehouse Technologies, she confirmed.
She referred our other questions to the city attorney, who did not respond to a request for comment.
Hard Warehouse Technologies has been supplying IT services to Madeira at least two decades, said another owner in the company, Rick Soper, Steven Soper's brother.
“Steve is one of the most honest people I have ever met," his brother told FOX19 NOW.
"He has all sorts of awards from the state of Ohio for his reporting for the city of Madeira. He has multiple awards for how great a job he did for Madeira. How much money the government spent on this - a misdemeanor - for a $250 fine is just amazing to me. Five years they spent on this. That’s crazy. I don’t know what it costs to have someone look at this for five years, but it wasn’t for free.”
In a Facebook post Tuesday, City Council Member Brian Mueller praised Soper’s tenure.
The criminal case was not mentioned.
“His service to Madeira has been exemplary, both within the City, Madeira City School support organizations, and the community at large,” Mueller wrote. “I am grateful for the 2 years I’ve been fortunate to know him and I know his generosity of service will continue in Madeira in many ways for many years to come.”
Assistant Treasurer/Tax Commissioner Kristie Lowndes has been appointed the acting city treasurer until an appointment is made by council.
The search for a new city treasurer will begin immediately.
The treasurer in Madeira is a 2-year appointment concurrent with the term of council.