Former Commissioner Thomas to be released from jail on Saturday


Former Belmont County Commissioner Mark Thomas will be released from jail on Saturday.

Thomas has been incarcerated since Jan 11 for contempt of court after Thomas failed to provide all of the requested paperwork in a civil case.

Judge John Vavra said Thomas will be released, but his case isn't over.

A new deadline has been established for him to turn the required documents.

"We need to secure Mr. Thomas' compliance with the order that he return all of his files concerning Alma Lukas," Vavra said.

The purpose of the hearing was to establish a new compliance deadline and discuss Thomas’ release from jail.

Defense Attorney Donald Tennant says Thomas accepted his punishment as he nears the end of his jail sentence for contempt of court.

"He could have done better in communicating to the court, and it was a mistake not to hire counsel or have counsel present to help him in that effort," Tennant said.

Tennant told the court Thomas met with the plaintiff's attorney on Jan. 5 hand over some of the documents he found.

"There were additional documents found late in the process prior to his incarceration date that did not get handed over because of the time frame," Tennant said.

Tennant asked Vavra for additional time.

"if, in fact, there are additional documents, Mr. Thomas would like the time to search for them and give them to (plaintiff’s attorney Andrew Walther),” Tennant said.

"We are going to have to have good faith and an honest effort to search for and provide any and all documents as ordered previously by the court, and we ask for an affidavit from your client indicating he has done so," Vavra said.

Thomas has 35 days to turn in the paperwork. He is set to appear for a review in March.

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