Beacon Journal staff writer
A new attorney has been appointed to represent the father of Kelley Williams-Bolar in connection with two felony charges that were severed from their joint trial last month.
Edward L. Williams was accompanied by a court-appointed lawyer, Job E. Perry, during an appearance Wednesday before Summit County Common Pleas Judge Patricia A. Cosgrove.
Williams, 64, was required to fill out a sworn affidavit of indigency and answer a series of questions in open court before Cosgrove appointed Perry to represent Williams.
A financial disclosure statement listed $674, in the form of a Social Security payment, as Williams' only monthly income.
He is charged with one count of grand theft and one count of tampering with records in connection with allegations of fraud to obtain various benefits from county and state public service agencies.
Cosgrove set an April 19 trial date on those charges.
Several area church pastors were in attendance for the hearing, but Williams-Bolar was not present in the courtroom.
In a case that has drawn international publicity on Internet blogs, Facebook and network television, Williams-Bolar was convicted of two counts of tampering with records for improperly enrolling her two children in the Copley-Fairlawn schools.
Edward Williams also was charged with tampering and theft in the same indictment as his daughter, but Cosgrove separated those charges from their joint trial last month.
The judge did that, she said, so as not to prejudice Williams-Bolar in the charges that she faced in connection with the school issues. Her girls were enrolled in the Copley-Fairlawn district for two full school terms, from August 2006 to June 2008.
It is not clear whether the charges against Edward Williams arose as authorities were investigating his daughter before the filing of the indictment in November 2009.
One count against Williams, for grand theft, states that ''in a continuing course of conduct,'' from March 23, 2005, to March 31, 2009, he knowingly obtained $36,023.87 from the Ohio Department of Human Services and the Department of Job and Family Services ''by deception,'' according to the indictment.
In the count of tampering, the indictment alleges that Williams knowingly falsified records to obtain ''cash, medical and food assistance'' from the Department of Job and Family Services from Nov. 14, 2003, to May 15, 2008.
The value of those services was not specified in the indictment.
After Wednesday's hearing, reporters attempted to question Williams about details of his case outside of court.
However, Perry, his new lawyer, quickly intervened and said there would be no comments.
Williams did provide some details about his income while the hearing was in progress. He said even his monthly Social Security benefits were unavailable.
''The prosecution did something where they got it stopped as of this month, so I don't have that now,'' Williams told the judge.
Cosgrove then asked him to explain what he meant, and Williams said prosecutors contacted the Social Security agency, apparently with detrimental information about him.
Williams also said there was a lien on his home on Black Pond Drive in Copley Township and that he doubts whether he has any equity left in it.
''They stripped me of everything,'' Williams told the judge.
Summit County Assistant Prosecutor Teri Burnside rebutted Williams' claims.
''I just wanted to clarify. Mr. Williams had said something about the prosecution taking his Social Security check. As the court is aware, Social Security has their own investigative department and, for the record, we have not contacted Social Security to do anything at this juncture,'' Burnside said.
Burnside also pointed out that Williams had retained his previous attorney, Kerry M. O'Brien, since March 2010.
However, when Cosgrove questioned Williams about his current financial status, he told the judge he could no longer afford to hire his own lawyer.
Williams was indicted on another charge of grand theft for allegedly aiding and abetting his daughter to obtain educational services from Copley-Fairlawn schools. But the jury was deadlocked, 11-1 for a finding of guilty, and that charge subsequently was dismissed last month.