Ontario mayor resigns, pleads no contest to felony charges

MANSFIELD, Ohio (AP) - The mayor of suburban Ontario has resigned and pleaded no contest to charges of theft in office and writing a bad check.

Daniel Kreisher, Democratic mayor since 2000, was accused of using a city credit card to pay more than $4,000 for a Disney World vacation and bouncing a $1,000 check for campaign advertising during the 2001 election.

Kreisher, 44, faced up to 2½ years in prison and a lifetime ban from public office if convicted at trial, but he opted to plead no contest in Richland County Common Pleas Court on Monday as part of a deal with prosecutors in the 8-month-old case.

Defendants in criminal cases pleading no contest do not admit guilt, but state they will offer no defense.

Judge James Henson accepted Kreisher's plea and allowed him to enter a one-year diversion program similar to probation that requires he have a job, report all income and receive permission to leave the county.

Upon successful completion, Kreisher's record would be cleared. If he does not complete the program, he can be found guilty.

Kreisher is not allowed to hold public office during the diversion program.

City Council President Stevie Regula will serve as acting mayor.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)