A former Orange Township official was charged with theft in office Wednesday by prosecutors who allege he pocketed money in exchange for granting sign permits.
Thomas G. Farahay, 64, of 21 Carriage Drive, Delaware, was charged with one count of theft in office, a fifth-degree felony, on Wednesday afternoon.
The charge became official after first assistant county prosecutor Kyle Rohrer filed a bill of information with Delaware County Common Pleas Court, alleging that Farahay stole money from the township between Feb. 1, 2012, and March 1, 2015.
Rohrer explained that a bill of information was filed because Farahay waived his right to have his case presented to a grand jury.
“As the zoning inspector for Orange Township, Mr. Farahay accepted cash for sign permits,” said Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien. “Instead of recording the transaction, Mr. Farahay allegedly destroyed the paperwork and pocketed the money.”
Prosecutors say that if Farahay is convicted, he will be required to repay the money and could receive between six to 12 months in prison, have to pay a fine of up to $2,500 and would be barred from holding public office in Ohio.
An arraignment date in Judge David Gormley’s court has not been scheduled.
Farahay was fired as zoning inspector by Orange Township trustees on June 5 after the investigation began. At that time Farahay had worked for the township for about 15 years.
Township Trustee Lisa Knapp said Wednesday that the charge was news she was waiting to hear.
“It’s about time,” Knapp said. “It’s been at least nine months since all this stuff has gone down and he admitted taking money to the detectives. I don’t know why it took so long. I’m glad they are going forward with it because you can’t get away with stealing from taxpayers.”
Robert Quigley, chairman of the township board of trustees, could not be reached for comment.
This is not Farahay’s first felony charge. In 1991, he was convicted of aggravated drug trafficking in Wood County Common Pleas Court. Bowling Green police said Farahay was involved in trafficking cocaine.
According to Wood County Common Pleas Court, he was sentenced to three years in prison and was ordered to pay a fine by Judge Donald Decessna. He was released in 1994, according to court documents.
Farahay is a former reporter at The Gazette.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.