November 24, 2014

Medina
Mostly cloudy
39°F

Former Medina Schools superintendent Randy Stepp facing foreclosure

The home owned by former Medina Schools Superintendent Randy Stepp on Williamsburg Court, in Medina Township, is in foreclosure. The bank that holds a mortgage for Stepp and his wife, Tina, filed a foreclosure suit in Medina County Common Pleas Court last week. (LOREN GENSON / GAZETTE)

The home owned by former Medina Schools Superintendent Randy Stepp on Williamsburg Court, in Medina Township, is in foreclosure. The bank that holds a mortgage for Stepp and his wife, Tina, filed a foreclosure suit in Medina County Common Pleas Court last week. (LOREN GENSON / GAZETTE)

Former Medina Schools Superintendent Randy Stepp is facing another financial hurdle after the bank that holds the mortgage on his Medina Township home, filed a foreclosure suit against Stepp and his wife, Tina, in Medina County Common Pleas Court.

The suit, filed on Aug. 12, says Stepp owes FirstMerit Mortgage Corp. $260,769 plus interest on his Williamsburg Court home in the Whispering Woods subdivision. County auditor records show he and his wife paid $330,000 for the home in 2006. It’s now valued at $286,000.

A foreclosure notice was sent to Stepp on Aug. 12 by the court and he was given 28 days to respond to the claim. An attorney representing Stepp did not return a phone call Tuesday.

Last year, Stepp filed a lawsuit against Medina Schools, including past and current board members, after the board declared his latest contract invalid. A federal judge refused to rule on that case and said the county court had jurisdiction over the matter.

Randy Stepp

Randy Stepp

Stepp was fired in late October after a special state audit found more than $4,000 in illegal spending and more than $1.5 million in spending that wasn’t properly documented or had no clear pubic purpose. In November, the school district filed suit against Stepp in Medina County Common Pleas Court hoping to reclaim money from Stepp.

The October audit also found Stepp had paid off more than $172,000 in student loans using district money. An amendment to his contract in November 2011 required the district to cover current and previous education costs. In 2012, he directed a one-time payment to pay off three separate student loans.

The foreclosure filing isn’t the first time Stepp struggled financially. In 1995, when he lived in Geauga County, Stepp filed for bankruptcy. He listed 28 creditors in the filing, including the U.S. Department of Education, which held his student loans.

In spring 2012, Stepp filed for divorce from Tina in Medina County Domestic Relations Court. The couple reconciled in early 2013, but during the time the proceedings were ongoing, a number of documents regarding their finances were filed with the court. In August 2012, Stepp received permission from the judge to sell a Sea-Doo watercraft and had permission from Tina to list the sale of their vacation timeshare.

The judge had to approve the sale as both parties had a restraining order on the sale of property while the divorce was proceeding.

In October 2012, Stepp was granted permission to “trade in a Jeep for a car with lower monthly payments” and granted permission to sell firearms and a BMW vehicle to apply toward a debt. While the judge also granted permission, it’s not clear from court documents whether Stepp went ahead with the sales.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com. Follow her on Twitter @lorengenson.

 


  • Linda Adamsky

    what goes around comes around

  • steve s.

    The witch hunt by the Gazette continues. Inaccurate, sophomoric, reporting. I believe he resigned and was not fired Ms. Genson. I imagine his legal team is smiling as they read yet another biased, flawed column in your “fish wrapper” of a paper. Thank you for being so insensitive, uncaring and malicious.

  • Realistic

    For as much as I dislike Randy Stepp for what he did to the school system and the city of Medina, this is truly a sad story. He was very wrong for his arrogant behavior and his family paid the price. It is sad that this whole thing was enough to destroy his finances and ultimately his family. I would bet that his wife and daughters were more or less innocent bystanders.
    My hope was that Randy would admit wrongdoing and make things right so that his family would not suffer.He still has the opportunity to do that and limit the pain inflicted on his family. He needs to do the right thing and put his family first.

  • Loren Genson

    Steve – Stepp was placed on administrative leave in the spring of 2013. After a state audit was released in October of 2013, the board voted unanimously to terminate his employment. Stepp has not resigned, and has sued the board for breach of contract regarding his termination.

  • steve s.

    Loren,

    Thank you for your response. I do appreciate you taking the time to respond. My statement about Mr. Stepp resigning came from reading a column written by your newspaper. Please read the following (see link below) and please direct me to the area in the column where the information you detailed above can be found. http://medinagazette.northcoastnow.com/2014/05/06/former-superintendent-randy-stepp-issues-resignation-medina-schools/. If I am incorrect thank you for clarifying what was omitted in the original column printed by your paper.

  • Realistic

    Steve – I believe you mis-read that article. The point of the article was that the board did ask him to resign. When he would not, they let him go and put Knight on permanently. When Stepp saw that, he did put his resignation in because it would not hurt him in any way at that point.
    Whatever the case is, Loren is correct with her story as Randy was fired and replaced.

  • Loren Genson

    In the article you cite, Stepp wrote the board:
    “Dear Medina City School District Board of Education:
    “You already terminated my employment as evidenced by the many actions you have taken against me since the beginning of last year. You made further clear that, under no circumstances, will you ever reinstate
    me to the position of superintendent.”
    We also reported:
    “Stepp was placed on administrative leave April 8, 2013, pending completion of a special state audit into his spending of district funds from a “carryover” fund held at the Medina City Schools’ Educational
    Service Center.
    The school board moved to fire Stepp in October after the special audit revealed $4,121 in illegal spending as well as $1.5 million that either was not properly documented or had an “unclear” purpose.”
    The reporting from that story lines up with what was printed in today’s story. I hope that clears up any confusion.

  • hamerdown

    Hey wasn’t he place on PAID admin. leave? So wasn’t he still making his house payments with the money he was still getting? I guess not. What was he thinking? Or then again he was not. Oh well his problem not mine.

  • Sarah

    Ms Genson; Your words
    are very misleading and after reading your very bias article, I’m lead to
    believe that you enjoy bullying Mr. Stepp. You’ve brought up his 1995 financials
    and pending divorce? Are you kidding me! Truly, what does this have to do
    with his pending law suit?

    I hope no one starts digging into your
    personal/financial affairs and exploits you in this manner. You have a
    platform to post good journalism in your “little paper”……Try doing so instead of throwing
    Mr. Stepp and his family under the bus.

  • Terry

    Stepp’s finances are very relevant to his pending law suit. It’s clear that Stepp had (and has) financial problems. He saw an opportunity get additional money to try and bail himself out. But in doing so, he got greedy. And got caught.

  • Realistic

    Loren – great job reporting this. You are fine with how this is reported.

  • Anonymous

    Well said, Sarah!

  • Sarah

    Wow, I’d hate to have you on my jury. Nothing like throwing out your verdict before the FACTS are all in. 1995 financials are relevant? What were you doing 19 years ago? Every pay attorney fees before? I bill by the hour and it gets expensive for good representation. How did Mr. Stepp get greedy? Please explain?

  • fred

    What did he get caught doing? Accepting a raise from his bosses? Medina get out of the dark ages!!! How many of you would tell your boss “no, I don’t want a raise?”.

  • Leave him alone

    You people make me sick. I hope he wins and laughs all the way to the bank with his settlement.

  • steve s.

    Loren, my last comment and I appreciate your responses. I understand the board moved to terminate Mr. Stepp, However, from what I understand they never succeeded in firing him because he resigned. Your column seems to indicate he got fired. They accepted his resignation. How can you be fired by your boss(s) and yet they accept your resignation? In my opinion your words and interpretation of the facts are misleading. We all interpret intent of any writing style differently and my interpretation (right or wrong) indicates a seemingly, malicious and never ending, negative bias towards Mr. Stepp without his due process. As far as the comments made by others pertaining to greed, why is it wrong, if offered by your company or employer to accept their offer to pay for your education?

  • Loren Genson

    Steve, we can go back and forth on semantics, because it’s true he was both terminated and offered a resignation.

    We are using the term fired, because the termination came more than six months before his resignation.
    It’s not meant to be a biased phrase, we would use “terminated” or “fired” in any instance where a person was no longer in his position, was no longer receiving pay, and was not permitted to enter the property of where he once worked.
    In the private sector, there’s no need to submit a resignation after you’ve been terminated, but he had a right to contest his termination through the rules established by the state regarding public administrators – his resignation formally put an end to that process.

  • dogeatdog123

    Loren, you are doing a great job. This is absolutely important information.

  • Cleveland

    If/when he wins his case do you think there will be a follow up story and an apology? Now that would be a good story.

  • slick330

    This did not destroy his finances, if you read the whole article in 1995 he filled bankruptcy, this just tells me he does not know how to manage money. With all his education and degrees, he forgot to get one on managing home financing. My wife and myself make 60,000 per year and paid a 130,000 mortgage off in less than 10 years.

    I cant beleive the school board would hire somebody to run a multi million dollar school system that doesnt know how to manage his own home finances……

  • BornYesterday?

    Shouldn’t anyone dealing with public funds be subject to a financial background check? I would think that right there would indicate whether you would hire him to be in charge of all that money. Many private companies to it for all employees even if they are not directly in charge of money.

  • medina girl

    Unfortunately, He’d been laughing for many years, and behind many peoples backs ( tax payers ). Linda Adamsky is spot on.

  • Blueskiesahead

    Are you kidding me people? A wolf in sheep’s clothing is still a wolf in sheep’s clothing. This is all part of his master plan. He’s pocketing any money he has (as told by his lawyer), foreclosing on purpose and will pay cash for a condo (or what not) far far away. On second thought…..maybe he wants to “hang out” in the medina community a little longer. (insert sarcasm).

  • Anonymous

    This is a character issue. Randy Stepp has demonstrated repeatedly his lack of character! Any person who served on the hiring committee for this guy should be relieved of his/her duties – who in their right mind would hire the LEADER of the school system when he had filed bankruptcy in the nineties?
    Randy Stepp holds a doctorate and an MBA (both paid for, in large part, by the generous citizens of Medina); his level of education would suggest that he is educated enough to pay his bills. It’s about his character!

  • legaleagle

    If he wins the case? there is no defense to a foreclosure, only loss mitigation programs.

  • anonymous

    This is wrong to be putting someone’s financial problems out for the public to see. Reguardless of what he did, everyone deserves their own privacy. This makes me sick that no one cares about anyone’s privacy and has to be in everyone’s business. He is going through enough right now and I can guarantee you that’s this is not easy for his family.

  • jeffmellott

    Cripes… what a welfare queen.

  • jeffmellott

    Actually, we should know when someone disclaims responsibility for their debts. That way, we know not to loan them money. Bankruptcy is and should be a public proceeding. Shame on the people who loaned him money after he ran out on his debts 20 years ago.

  • jeffmellott

    I don’t feel any sorrow for the BOE. Stepp, though, is getting what he deserves.

  • jeffmellott

    You have a point— they worked together to hide his handouts from the public. They deserved to get snookered by this sneak.

  • medinagirl

    Couldn’t let your comment go,, He didn’t just accept a raise from his bosses, he demanded it ! He wrote the terms to his contract, or as he states “negotiated a fair contract” , I wonder how many Medina City School employees lost their homes to foreclosure, or maybe had to file bankruptcy during Randy Stepp’s tenure? School buses were sold and drivers were laid off, many of those drivers NEVER to be recalled back to work after many, many, years of service. Lets not forget an entire support staff who’s hours were drastically cut and or positions eliminated . A lucky bus driver might pull 20k / year after about 15-20 years of service. His” if you want to keep me” (sarcasm) bonus was four times that amount ! BONUS!! not salary ! 4 support staff positions lost = his BONUS! get it ?
    ( Custodians, secretaries, food service, bus drivers, Teachers aides,) who have all gone without raises for the last 4 years or more, because all the while Mr.Stepp was telling them ” there’s no money for you” He was was negotiating “a fair contract” for himself ! We arent in the dark ages as you stated Fred,but made fools of by a great deceiver.