The wife of a fired Clark County Sheriff’s sergeant said that she will keep challenging the sheriff despite a raid at her house Tuesday night by FBI agents and troopers from the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Jeanette Sullivan said Wednesday that she believes the Clark County Sheriff’s Office instigated the raid because senior leaders are upset about what she called “sensitive” public records she has requested and threatened to expose to the community.
The search and federal investigation are not linked in any way to the sheriff’s office, Sheriff Gene Kelly said.
Sullivan’s public records requests, she said, included emails that documented racially inappropriate views from sheriff’s office employees.
“We were getting tips on those and we were asking for them in public record, and it was getting very sensitive, and I don’t think they liked that,” Sullivan said in her home.
Sullivan and her husband, Eric — a former Clark County Sheriff’s office sergeant, fired in October — said investigators took a computer, cell phone and cable modem from their home during a raid that lasted more than two hours Tuesday.
A federal warrant for the search at the Sullivans’ home had been sealed by a federal judge, said Todd Lindgren, spokesman for the FBI.
The FBI was not releasing any information on the reason for the search, and Lindgren said he doesn’t anticipate releasing any information in the “near future.”
“(The FBI is) a federal investigation authority; they’ve gone to a federal prosecutor, and that prosecutor went to a federal judge and obtained a federal search warrant,” Kelly said.
The FBI investigation, Sullivan said, is a way to hinder Clark County Sheriff’s documents from being released to the public.
All the records Sullivan has, she said, were obtained legally.
“I have nothing to hide,” Sullivan said.
But she said she believed her look into the inner workings of the sheriff’s office could put her in jeopardy of some sort of retaliation.
“I’m ready for it — I asked for this and, if you ask me, it’s going just the way it’s supposed to,” Sullivan said.
Kelly said Sullivan’s allegations are false.
“This is an investigation by the FBI — I do not control the FBI,” said the sheriff, who is seeking re-election this year.
Sullivan has also filed a complaint against Kelly with the Ohio Attorney General’s office about the investigation of her husband’s firing. In the course of her public records requests, she has also posted allegations of sheriff’s office corruption in a Facebook group called Truthseekers.
“If this is what it is going to take to stop the foundation of corruption for the sheriff — take being investigated by the BCI, by FBI, it doesn’t matter,” Jeanette Sullivan said. “The sheriff’s office just wasn’t involved, I think, because they didn’t want it to look like it was them. And it was.
“And if this is what it takes for me to make a change, this is the year to do it, and I’m going to make a change.”