Zack Perkins speaks out on scandal: ‘I was targeted’
Tiffin, Ohio — Former Tiffin City Councilman Zack Perkins is speaking out for the first time about the scandal that led him to abruptly resign from city council and decline the position of mayor after being elected by his fellow councilmembers to serve in that role earlier this month.
“I know that the events of the last few weeks have left many people in Tiffin with a lot of questions. I am sorry that there has been so much negativity imparted on Tiffin because of this election; I have been just as surprised and disheartened by what has transpired as many of you,” Perkins wrote in a public post to his Facebook page Monday morning.
Following several rounds of voting during a special meeting of Tiffin City Council on Monday, July 11, councilmembers eventually elected then-Councilmember Perkins to fulfill the remainder of former Mayor Aaron Montz’s unexpired term.
Shortly after that council meeting, TiffinOhio.net was alerted to an email message outlining misconduct allegations against Perkins, which was sent to Councilmembers Vickie Wilkins, Ken Jones, and Steve Lepard just a few hours prior to the meeting. In the email message, which can be viewed here, the author said they had witnessed two alleged incidents of misconduct involving Perkins.
After those allegations were brought to light within the community, Perkins submitted his resignation from city council and declined the position of mayor on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 12.
“It is apparent to me now that there are negative forces in our community. I had always believed Tiffin to be immune from this type of thing, but my perspective on this has been changed,” Perkins wrote in the Facebook post. “I believe these forces thought they had successfully decided who the next mayor would be, and it was not to be me. As the time came closer to Council’s meeting to make this appointment, these forces saw that I was disrupting their plans by gaining the support of a majority of Council. For that, I was targeted.”
Perkins said he was “not made aware of the email until after the meeting and the vote had occurred.”
While Perkins was working as a fitness supervisor at the YMCA, he was fired for having an affair with an instructor while he was married, the author of the email wrote. In another incident, the author of the email said Perkins was accused of sexual misconduct by a female employee while he was working in a management role at a local restaurant. Perkins wasn’t fired, so his accuser filed a lawsuit against the restaurant, costing the business a “substantial sum,” according to the email’s author.
“This email was full of opinion and innuendo with very little substance. I have an abundance of documentation and witnesses to definitively refute what was stated. I would also like to make it very clear that all of the accusations included in that email happened well before I was married to my current wife Danielle, despite what was implied,” Perkins wrote. “I would like to applaud the members of council who did receive this email in their restraint in bringing it up during the meeting. While I would have valued the chance to address the contents directly during that time, we cannot allow the wheels of democracy to grind to a halt due to baseless claims that are brought up in the eleventh hour.”
Perkins’ family was the reason he ultimately decided to step down from city council and decline the position of mayor, he said.
“I want to make it very clear: an unwillingness to defend myself against these accusations is NOT why I chose to step down. That would have been easy to do,” Perkins wrote. “Only a few hours after I was made aware of the accusations on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 12th, my wife and family were already being flooded with calls, emails, and text about it. Some of these were of a supportive nature, but many were extremely negative and some even bordered on harassment. My family comes first. It was then and there that I decided to step down.”
Perkins said this was not the “only time these negative forces in Tiffin have been at play.”
“So many others have come forward to share how they have unfairly been the victim of unfounded attacks and character assassination attempts in a similar way. My eyes have been opened in a way that has been difficult to accept. I truly believe that any individual who challenged these forces’ chosen mayoral candidate would have experienced this same type of attack,” Perkins wrote in his Facebook post.
“I am committed to continuing to work for the good of our community. I got into public service to have a positive impact on the city that I love. And while I have chosen not to continue as a public servant, my resolve to continue to make this an amazing community has never been stronger. I wish the best to our Council and to Dawn Iannantuono, our 50th, and first female, Mayor,” Perkins added.