CLEVELAND — Former Newburgh Heights Mayor Trevor Elkins, who pleaded guilty to three misdemeanors that stemmed from a state elections commission investigation, was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Despite a plea agreement that included no jail time, Judge Joan Synenberg sentenced him to six months in jail, with 150 days of that suspended.
Elkins was placed on one year of community control and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service.
If Elkins completes the 200 hours of community service. Synenberg said she would consider early termination of his probation.
Synenberg called Elkins' actions "unfathomable" and that he violated public trust by taking hard-earning money from his supporters.
"Take responsibility then take responsibility. You come in here dancing on the head of a pin saying it's not really this, it's that," Synenberg said. "It's a violation of public trust. You're a public official. You're held to that standard. That's part of the job. You know that's a part of the job. 15 years. You have a community to answer to. A reputation to a point. This is not what the public expects. This is not what the public deserves."
Elkins responded, "You're right. That is my responsibility to know that it's inexplicable that I did not. And obviously, you know, those consequences are the result of why we're here today."
Hear more of Synenberg's comment in the media player below:
In April, Elkins pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted election falsification and one count of attempted theft in office.
A state elections commission investigation found that Elkins used more than $134,000 of campaign funds for personal use between 2015 and 2019. Investigators said Elkins spent the money at bars, restaurants, haircuts and other things.
Elkins said the money was not from donors and instead were funds he deposited into his campaign account.
The 49-year-old said he repaid the money and told investigators that he didn't realize it was illegal to co-mingle personal and campaign funds.
Under the terms of the original plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to recommend Elkins spend five years on probation and not get sentenced to jail. The agreement also calls for Elkins to pay a $750 fine, resign as mayor, and not to run for office in Cuyahoga County through 2028.
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