Don Robart has taken an unpaid leave from the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office while he is under investigation over his computer use while serving as Cuyahoga Falls mayor.
Robart’s decision to go on unpaid leave as a regional liaison for Secretary of State Jon Husted was announced Friday.
The move comes after Ohio Democrats criticized Husted for not removing his fellow Republican when allegations arose Wednesday that Robart used his City Hall computer for campaign work and to view pornography.
“As the chief election official in the state of Ohio, it is irresponsible for Jon Husted to continue to have someone accused of using official resources for campaign work and otherwise abuse official resources representing the Secretary of State’s Office.
Husted’s silence on this investigation is telling,” said Brian Hester, the state Democrats’ deputy communications director.
A Husted spokesman said Wednesday that the office was not aware of the computer allegations and that Husted intended to speak with Robart before taking any steps. Robart instead made the decision himself.
“The secretary, unlike the Democrats, likes to make sure he has all the facts before making a decision,” Husted spokesman Matt McClellan said Friday.
Robart did not return a call seeking comment Friday. He was earning $40,000 a year from the state position.
In an interview Wednesday, Robart said he never used his city-owned computer to conduct campaign business nor did he ever view the pornography that reportedly was found on the hard drive.
Robart, 68, who served for 28 years as mayor, could not explain why the documents, some dating to 2003, were on his former computer.
In addition, an information technology worker for the city has said that Robart was warned years ago about the pornography files and the risks of a computer virus.
Robart also denied the IT worker’s claims.
Cuyahoga Falls officials continue the investigation into Robart’s computer use.
The computer files came to light last week when new Mayor Don Walters, who defeated Robart in the November election, was using the same computer. While looking for a lost file, Walters and a secretary came across what he called a “mountain” of pornographic files.
Walters, a Democrat, also said they found documents related to Robart’s re-election efforts, including the location of hundreds of campaign signs and the identities of absentee voters.
After the allegations surfaced, the Beacon Journal used Ohio public records laws to obtain a copy of Robart’s hard drive on Wednesday. An inspection of the hard drive showed several files of pornography and election-related spreadsheets.
Cuyahoga Falls officials are trying to determine if Robart violated state law that bars public workers from using city computers and work time to conduct election work.