Allegations of nepotism against county auditor dropped by court

Linda Fraley hugs her son Jason Fraley in relief after the judge throws out the allegations.

By Megan Alley
Sun staff

Allegations that Clermont County Auditor Linda Fraley had engaged in nepotism were dismissed by the county municipal court on April 5.

The charges were brought forth by Chris Hicks, who has launched a bid to unseat Fraley in the upcoming election; the two will face off in the Republican primary in May.

“When you look at this case, there’s nothing here,” Christopher McDowell, Fraley’s attorney said. “This is a political stunt in order to get the cameras here and embarrass my client, nothing more.”

The allegations stem from Fraley’s hiring of her stepson in 2002, a time during which Fraley and the stepson’s father were divorced.

Visiting judge Howard Sunderman found the hiring to be legal.

“I’ve read all the documents in the file, and I’ve heard now from both sides … I have to say that I do not find probable cause here,” Sunderman said.

He added, “This case has no merit.”

In a statement released shortly after the ruling, Hicks said that he plans to appeal the judgment.