PDT Staff Writer
Former Portsmouth City Community Development Director Daniel Saez has filed a Notice of Voluntary Dismissal with prejudice with the Scioto County Common Pleas Court, amid a statement by City Solicitor Mike Jones that an internal review has found no wrongdoing on his part.
Saez had sued Portsmouth Mayor Jane Murray and the city of Portsmouth. In the suit, Saez had accused then-Portsmouth Mayor Jane Murray and the city of Portsmouth, of publishing false and defamatory statements concerning him. Specifically that she made comments suggesting, among other things, that Saez was engaged in a criminal enterprise involving the handling of the city’s revolving loan fund. Saez also charged Murray alleged that he mismanaged his duties as community development director and accused him of unspecified charges of mismanagement in the function and implementation of his official duties.
Saez said the Notice of Dismissal was filed in recognition of the good faith efforts made by the city of Portsmouth to “investigate and publicize the truth regarding” his job performance in general and the administration of the city’s Business Revolving Loan Fund in particular during his tenure as Community Development Director.
The document announcing the dismissal reads, “Mr. Saez believes that the city’s willingness to investigate this matter made any continuing legal action against former Mayor Murray no longer necessary.”
Saez further stated that his decision to dismiss the lawsuit was also dictated by his wish to spare the city of Portsmouth from further legal action and financial expense as defendants in the case.
“The internal review of Mr. Saez’s administration of the Community Development Department yielded no evidence of wrongdoing or mismanagement by Mr. Saez during his tenure as Director of Community Development,” Jones said.
Jones said the results of a 2009 internal review of the Business Revolving Loan Fund revealed that during the time of Saez’s tenure, from May to December of 2009, no loan disbursements were authorized or made to any local businesses or individuals from the Business Loan Fund by Saez, the BRLF committee or any other Community Development personnel during that time.
Jones further stated that the balance of the Business Revolving Loan Fund supported by Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), as of May 18, 2009, when Saez was appointed, was $339,539.71. On Jan. 3, 2010, when Saez submitted his resignation to then-Mayor James Kalb, in advance of Murray taking office, the balance of the fund had grown to $354,714.62.
According to the dismissal document, Jones indicated he would be willing to make such information available to the State Auditor as part of any audit if it was requested.
“I’m happy that this matter is finally resolved,” Portsmouth Mayor David Malone said. “I likewise considered Mr. Saez to be a dedicated employee during his tenure as Community Development Director, and I want to publicly recognize Mr. Saez for his professional expertise as a program administrator, and for his valuable and honorable service to the city of Portsmouth.”
Saez said he was interested in restoring his name.
“My goal from the very beginning was to have my good name and professional reputation restored,” Saez said, while thanking Malone and Jones for their help. “Clearing my good name and reputation is all I ever wanted. Now it’s time to put this chapter behind us and move on.”