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No deal in Calhoun case

Former SSP Credit Union treasurer Douglas Calhoun appeared before Judge Frank McCown in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court for a pretrial hearing on theft charges Wednesday.

Lawrence County Prosecutor J. B. Collier Jr. and Calhoun's attorney Steve Rodeheffer met with Judge McCown to determine if the case could be settled without going to trial, Collier said.

Nothing was resolved but Collier said the county has taken a hard position and presented it to the defense.

"I want him to plead guilty," he said. "We also expect him to spend a good deal of time in a penitentiary."

Collier said many factors, including the breach of trust, the magnitude, the length of time involved and the sheer amount of money, all contributed to the way he will handle the case.

Last month, Calhoun, 60, of Russell, Ky., was indicted by the Lawrence County Grand Jury on 13 counts of theft in connection with $1 million missing from the now-defunct credit union.

He was indicted on one count of theft, a class-five felony with a maximum sentence of 12 months; two counts of aggravated theft over $100,000, class-three felonies with five-year maximum sentences; and 10 counts of grand theft of amounts between $5,000 and $100,000, class-four felonies with a maximum sentence of 18 months.

The thefts allegedly occurred between Jan. 1, 1990 and May 17, 2002. Calhoun was arrested May 18 on charges of theft by deception, but was released on $100,000 bond before being formally indicted in September.

The fact that the money still has not been located also contributed to the county's position, Collier said.

"This is a big factor," he said. "None of it is forthcoming. If restitution was made it may change our position."

Rodeheffer will now discuss the options with his client. Judge McCown set another pretrial for 1:30 p.m. Nov. 6 , and a trial date for Nov. 18, Collier said.

Collier said that it is normal for issues to not be settled at the first pretrial and that he was pleased with the progress.

In June, the Ohio Department of Commerce declared SSP "insolvent and unsafe" and authorized the liquidation of the company.

To date, American Share Insurance has logged more than 3,000 man-hours with six accountants on the case and paid out $3.8 million including interest. They believe that this is the largest case they have handled and have filed suit against Calhoun in federal court, Collier said.

About 15 former members of the credit union were at the pretrial and 20 or 30 more have called. They will fill out victim impact statements and their input is appreciated and needed, Collier said

Collier said he explained to everyone why the case has taken so long.

"We are talking about recreating 13 years of books," he said. "There were more than 500 members."

Former credit union members can attend the next pretrial hearing or contact the Lawrence County Prosecutor's Office's Crime Victims Assistance Program at Number 1 Veterans Square, Ironton, Ohio 45638 or call 533-4360.