Lancaster mayor resigns after criminal offenses and 'bad behavior'
Lancaster Mayor Brian S. Kuhn submitted his letter of resignation to city council Monday morning.
The resignation was abrupt and welcomed after Kuhn was recently charged and convicted of criminal offenses in December last year. Kuhn was placed on 90 days of house arrest and given 100 hours of community service.
"City Council continues to see, hear, and learn of the professional and private lack of character, trustworthiness, and bad behavior of Mayor Brian Kuhn since his taking office as Mayor January 1, 2016," stated the Lancaster City Council in a resolution.
In Kuhn's resignation letter, he stated that he believes he served the city well during 2016 despite the criminal charges.
He did note however, "I do understand that confidence in me as a leader has diminished since taking office 13 months ago. The citizens of the City of Lancaster are important to me, as well as how we are portrayed outside communities and future investors."
Mayor Kuhn's last day in office was planned for Friday February 3rd.
Lancaster City Council met Monday morning with the intent of approving a resolution calling for him to step down. The city law director arrived at the meeting and read the letter of resignation after visiting Kuhn at his Lancaster home.
"I sincerely apologize to you all and I ask you for your forgiveness for past actions in my personal life," Kuhn wrote.
Sources tell ABC 6 / FOX 28 that recent tax liens were filed against Kuhn for not paying federal taxes and failing to pay city taxes on time.
"Council has lost confidence in him, his friends have lost confidence in him, but most of all the people of Lancaster have lost confidence in him," City Council President Robert Hedges said. "We're now ready to move on and try to get our house back in order."
Investigators looked into Kuhn after his wife, Bridget, was convicted for stealing tens of thousands of dollars from several local groups to feed a gambling addiction. Sources close to the investigation said Kuhn also gambled and joined his wife on hundreds of casino visits.
Representative Tim Schaffer prepared to take this to a new level and request Governor John Kasich start the legal process of kicking Kuhn from office.
"You need to resign and if you don't we're going to take you out," he explained. "We're going to make sure we invoke the legal system to make sure that you're kicked out of office and we have to do that as a community. It's a very hard thing to do but you have to be willing to do that."
Schaffer is working on legislation to better hold politicians accountable, however, Kuhn got to city council before any higher action was taken.
Members voted unanimously and pushed forward with Kuhn's resignation. A resolution was approved saying the mayor's bad behavior damaged the city's image.
"Lancaster for a long time has been suffering greatly because we haven't had someone willing and able to lead," Hedges said.
Council President Hedges will become acting mayor for up to 45 days. The Republican Party in Fairfield County will appoint a new mayor to serve until the next municipal election in November.