You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

live video

Thousands gather at Women’s March on Washington D.C.

Trustee pleads not guilty to theft, forgery charges

A Mad River Twp. trustee pleaded not guilty to charges that included theft and forgery Wednesday, and his attorney said he will seek a speedy trial in Champaign County Common Pleas Court.

Brad K. Zerkle, who has served as a trustee since 2010, was released on his own recognizance after pleading not guilty to two counts of theft in office and one count of forgery. As a condition of his release, Zerkle will have no access to the township checkbook or credit cards.

His attorney, Jon Paul Rion, said Zerkle took a polygraph test that showed he is telling the truth about the case and said other evidence will show his client did nothing illegal.

“Our investigation will go on the offensive in the next 10 days to determine who is behind this witch hunt,” Rion said.

Zerkle’s indictment says one of the the theft charges involves gasoline owned by the township. A report from the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office shows in 2011, deputies investigated an incident in which about $5,200 in property was removed from the grounds belonging to the township trustees.

The other theft charge was related to a reimbursement to the township for medical insurance. The forgery charge involved proof of insurance, according to the indictment.

Rion said those charges are the result of a dispute between Zerkle and the township over health benefits. Zerkle had received health insurance from a separate employer and there was a disagreement over reimbursements to the township for insurance benefits.

“In his attempt to save the township money, it seems to be a paradox that he’s accused of misusing that trust,” Rion said.

Matt Donahue, a special prosecutor from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, had also asked that the court prohibit Zerkle from having access to the township fuel pump as a condition of his release, but the court denied that request. Zerkle is still serving in his role as a trustee while the case continues.

Zerkle attended a regularly scheduled Mad River Twp. trustee meeting earlier this week, but the court case wasn’t discussed.

“He sees himself as a person who’s given much to the township and he wants to continue doing so,” Rion said of his client.

A pre-trial hearing was scheduled for 3 p.m. May 15.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

Stafford: News-Sun morgue alive at Heritage Center
Stafford: News-Sun morgue alive at Heritage Center

The morgue is alive again. It’s not alive in quite the same way it was when I habitually slipped in and out of it on the third floor of the News-Sun Building. Still, in the roughly 100 boxes shelved in the Clark County Heritage Center library, the largest body of its material is available to the public. Those who aren’t arthritic journalists...
Deadly storm tears through Mississippi
Deadly storm tears through Mississippi

A severe storm — including a tornado — tore through southern Mississippi early Saturday, damaging several buildings in Hattiesburg. Three people have been killed, The Associated Press reported. A search and rescue operation has begun in Hattiesburg, Mayor Johnny DuPree said. Most of the damage appeared to be in the downtown's outskirts...
Bush, Clinton wrote warm letters to successors
Bush, Clinton wrote warm letters to successors

It’s a tradition that an outgoing president will leave a letter behind for the new commander-in-chief. The letters are usually filled with best wishes and even some advice. The National Archives recently released the letters that former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush wrote to the successors, according to ABC News and Politico. The...
White House had ghostly look on Obama's final night
White House had ghostly look on Obama's final night

Desks were emptied and staff moved out as the outgoing staff made way for the staff of Donald Trump, who was inaugurated on Friday.
'House of Cards' will 'Bring the Terror' in Season 5
'House of Cards' will 'Bring the Terror' in Season 5

As the nation watched Donald Trump being sworn in as the 45th president, Frank Underwood already was planning ahead. Netflix released a teaser Friday for the fifth season of its presidential drama, "House of Cards." Underwood, the crafty politician played by Kevin Spacey, will return to action on May 30, Netflix announced.   The teaser...
More Stories