JEFFERSON — Former Ward 3 Councilman Reginald Holman pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor count in the Eastern County Court, but he said he might consider running for city council again in the future.
Holman, 57, pleaded to one count of attempted election falsification, a first degree misdemeanor, according to County Prosecutor Nicholas Iarocci. In exchange for the plea felony charges of election falsification and false voter registration were dismissed.
Holman, who appeared before Judge Harold Specht with his attorney Malcolm Stewart Douglas, received a 90 day suspended jail sentence, one year of probation and a $150 fine.
Holman was indicted in two cases this year regarding issues with his residency and voter registration. The charges stemmed from Holman’s voting address of 1123 W. 43rd St., Ashtabula, as declared by Holman in the petitions, being false. Prosecutors have said Holman had long been living with his parents at 3559 Austinburg Road in Plymouth Township.
After a three-hour-long hearing in late March, election officials concluded Holman provided an incorrect address to election board staff when registering to vote and he was removed from the voter rolls. Following testimony he gave during the hearing, Holman was then charged with voter registration fraud. In April, Holman resigned from city council.
The plea represents a fair resolution to the case, Iarocci said.
“The Ashtabula County Board of Elections and law enforcement take very seriously crimes of elections and voter fraud,” Iarocci said. “And my office will not hesitate to criminally charge and prosecute offenders of Ohio’s voter laws.”
Holman, reached by phone Friday morning, said he isn’t happy with the outcome, but a plea was necessary because he couldn’t continue to fight when he has a higher duty of helping to care for his elderly parents who have health issues. Holman said the case had taken a toll on his family, and he was tired of the whole situation.
“I feel I was very much mistreated, and this situation was tied in with other situations that were just all boggled up,” Holman said. “My intentions were to try to help the city, not to hurt it.”
Holman said if it ultimately came down to him visiting his parents, which he believes caused the whole situation, he is more concerned with continuing those visits to serve them than trying to serve Ashtabula.
“My mother and father are old and this was not helping them,” Holman said. “I felt I had more of an obligation to them than I have to the city.”
Holman, who said his father is a long-time civil rights fighter and was president of the NAACP, said he isn’t ruling out a run for public office again in the future. The goal is to be a good citizen and to try to carry on work his father started as far as offering representation to minorities in Ashtabula, Holman said.
“I thank all the people in Ward 3 who supported me,” Holman said. “My parents were scared and I just got tired of it. They mean more to me to make them happy than to keep fighting this.”