Columbus City Schools

Posted on 7/31/2014

Defendant: Stephen Tankovich

Stephen B. Tankovich, former Executive Director of the Office of Accountability Systems for

the Columbus City Schools, will appear in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court today to

face a Felony Charge for Attempted Tampering with Government Records. The records involved

are student attendance records required to be kept by the Columbus City Schools and which are

submitted to the Ohio Department of Education. The manipulation of that student data affected

the attendance data for particular schools and the columbus school district, a measurement

known as Adequate Yearly progress, and Ohio Graduation Test results.

Tankovich is scheduled to appear before Common Pleas Court Adminstrative Judge Patrick E.

Sheeran courtroom 4-A, 345 S. High St at 10:00 A.M. and is represented by Columbus attorney

Mark C. Collins.

Tankovich is expected to waive indictment by the grand jury on this felony charge and consent to

being prosecuted by a Bill of Information-a charge filed by the Prosecutor rather than a Grand


Tankovich has entered into a written plea agreement with the State that provides that he will

enter a "No Contest" plea to the Charge, which is a Fourth degree felony and punishable by a

maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine, and stipulate a finding of guilty. A

"No Contest" plea is an admission of the facts and allegations in a charge and that the conduct

constitutes a crime under Ohio law; and is frequently entered when there are collateral issues that

are still pending-such as civil cases or insurance coverage-related to the same matters.

Tankovich is a party to civil proceedings related to the Columbus City Schools data


A pre-sentence investigation is expected to be ordered by Judge Sheeran prior to the imposition

of sentence.

The plea agreement with Tankovich calls for him to cooperate with the prosecutors office, state

auditor, FBI, Columbus City Attorney, and U.S. Attorney in the investigation of these issues and

to truthfully testify in any subsequent grand jury or trial proceedings involving other persons,

either in state or federal court. Pursuant to that plea agreement Tankovich and his attorney have

met with officals on two separate occasions and given a statement as well as answered questions

presented to him regarding this data manipulation scheme.

Those persons involved in working together on this continuing inquiry have been U.S. Attorney

Carter Stewart's office, including Assistants Douglas Squires and Ken Affeldt with FBI agent

Daniel Leeper and SA Justin Burt of U.S. Department of Education OIG; Ohio Auditor David

Yost, and his Investigators Michael Spiert and Dennis Graul with Deputy Legal Counsel Robert

F. Smith; City Attorney Richard C. Pfeiffer Jr. and Chief Prosecutor Lara Baker-Moorish.

Jeffrey Blake, the Director of the Economic Crime Unit of this office, has coordinated the matter

for the prosecution.