A decade after political scandal, ex-Covington commissioner hired at Cincinnati City Hall

Posted at 11:46 AM, Dec 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-18 11:46:58-05

A former Covington city commissioner who was embroiled in a political scandal nearly a decade ago is re-entering politics as the chief of staff for newly elected Cincinnati City Councilman Jeff Pastor.

Steve Megerle, an attorney, pleaded guilty in 2009 to a misdemeanor for his role in helping to anonymously pay for pamphlets with anti-gay overtones aimed at a Covington city commission candidate. Megerle resigned from his commission job later that year.

"Steve acknowledged that in the throes of a heated campaign almost a decade ago, he made a political mistake for which he has expressed remorse and accepted full responsibility and punishment,” Pastor said. “I believe we all make mistakes and all people deserve a second chance.”

Pastor, a Republican political newcomer, chose Megerle to lead his office once he is sworn in as a city council member on Jan. 2, 2018.

Newly elected Cincinnati City Councilman Jeff Pastor

“If I did not have full confidence in Steve's abilities, intellect, integrity, and professionalism, he would not be at my side as we prepare to launch my term on Cincinnati City Council,” Pastor said. “We aren't dwelling on the past but looking forward to the future."

Megerle, a Covington attorney, was involved in anonymously paying for a 2008 campaign flyer targeting the defeat of commissioner candidate Shawn Masters.

“I do not have a criminal conviction," Megerle said in an email to WCPO. "The 2009 issue was expunged and no longer exists.”

Megerle pleaded guilty in April 2009 to a misdemeanor of conspiracy to fail to identify campaign contributors and advertisers. He also entered an Alford plea (no contest) to a charge of conspiracy to violate campaign finance restrictions, according to Kentucky Supreme court documents.

A judge sentenced him to 12 months in prison, suspended for one year. He did not serve jail time.

Former Covington commissioner Steve Megerle will lead new Cincinnati City Councilman Jeff Pastor's office as chief of staff. 

In 2012, the Kentucky Bar Association publicly reprimanded Megerle for the campaign law misdemeanors and for mishandling a client’s automobile injury case.

In recent years Megerle has been active in the political scene, holding fundraisers for Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and U.S. Senator Rand Paul.

Megerle also serves as the treasurer of the North Avondale Neighborhood Association. He has been a practicing attorney for more than 12 years.

“He’s a fine choice," Hamilton County Republican Party Chairman Alex Triantafilou said of Megerle. "To have a lawyer serving in your administration is valuable as you’re passing laws."