Ed Meyer

Former Akron Municipal Judge Tom McCarty has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Ohio Supreme Court after a complaint before last year’s election charging him with failing to report a substantial legal fee as a source of income on his 2010 financial disclosure statement.

Ohio law requires all judicial candidates to file such statements with the court’s Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline about a month before the general election.

Joseph M. Caligiuri, senior assistant disciplinary counsel for the court, stated in his letter to McCarty and Megan Moreland, executive director of the Summit County Democratic Party, that the allegation was “without merit.”

Caligiuri wrote that the complaint was thoroughly investigated and the matter was closed.

The complaint, which was filed by Moreland, was received by the disciplinary board on Nov. 3, five days before the election.

Caligiuri wrote that it was undisputed that McCarty “received a portion of a $570,912.44 fee as a result of his involvement in representing [a family] in a wrongful death action.”

McCarty was not required to disclose the actual fee, Caligiuri wrote, but did have to identify the fee as a source of income. When McCarty discovered the omission on his disclosure statement, he filed an amended report correcting it.

McCarty, a Republican, lost in the general election to his Democratic challenger, Joy Malek Oldfield, by 1,350 votes, according to the Board of Elections’ final results.

In an interview Friday, McCarty said the complaint “had no merit from the start. It was designed by my opponent to bring me down, and unfortunately she was successful in that.”

He said he felt the complaint affected the outcome of the race and besmirched his good name.

Donald R. Hicks, a veteran Akron defense lawyer who had practiced extensively in McCarty’s court, called him “a very fine judge” who worked hard at his job and “truly cared about everyone who came before him in his court.”

“He was firm but fair and I imagine,” Hicks said, “that he will be back at some point.”

Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or at emeyer@thebeaconjournal.com.