Leis a "side show"
After Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis Jr. showed up at today's commission meeting and threatened to go to court to force commissioners to fund a jail, Commissioner Todd Portune called the incident "a side show."
Portune and fellow Commissioners Phil Heimlich and Pat DeWine were bothered at Leis' request. He wanted commissioners to approve spending public money to hire a private law firm so Leis could sue commissioners to force them to pay for a new jail -- after voters rejected such a plan last month.
After commissioners unanimously rejected Leis' request at today's meeting, Leis said he was going to court to get a judge to force commissioners to pay for a new jail.
After the meeting, Leis didn't want to answer questions from The Enquirer because he was mad the Enquirer quoted him two weeks ago -- accurately -- cursing about his suggestion that commissioners unilaterally impose a sales tax to pay for a new jail.
In that interview, which Leis knew was being tape-recorded, he said "Just build the son of a bitch" referring to the jail.
He also was upset commissioners are looking at taking some of the millions his office seizes from drug sellers to help pay for a jail. Leis was quoted -- accurately -- as saying that amount of money was "a pimple on the ass" of the total cost of a $230 million jail.
After the meeting, Leis criticized commissioners for spending $7 million to send up to 300 prisoners per day to Butler County to ease jail overcrowding at the Hamilton County Justice Center.
Leis said commissioners didn't have the money to pay for the $7 million cost of that program because it was supposed to be paid for by the plan to increase the sales tax -- an issues voters soundly rejected.
The question Leis refused to answer from The Enquirer, after he said that, was "If commissioners can't afford that $7 million, how do you expect them to pay for a jail?"
Later, he told other reporters the responsibility of paying for a jail is the commissioners' problem, not his.