Drew Hastings and Bob Lambert. (HCP 2010 file photo.)
Drew Hastings and Bob Lambert. (HCP 2010 file photo.)
A letter from Hillsboro mayor Drew Hastings – signed by him in his official capacity as mayor – supporting Bob Lambert was filed in United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio Tuesday, Jan. 2 ahead of Lambert’s sentencing on child pornography charges Friday, Jan. 5.

Lambert, who formerly served as Highland County Visitors Bureau director and a Hillsboro city commissions member, pleaded guilty July 31, 2017 to felony charges of distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography. After pleading guilty, he was released on his own recognizance with “conditions continued and modified to include a curfew and no contact with any witnesses,” according to court documents.

Several letters of support for Lambert have been filed in the last two weeks and are addressed to U.S. District Court/Southern District of Ohio Judge Susan J. Dlott, as Lambert is scheduled to appear in court Friday morning, Jan. 5 for sentencing. The United States is recommending “a total sentence of 200 months on each count to run concurrently,” as well as sex offender treatment, for Lambert. Lambert’s attorneys are seeking “the mandatory minimum five years.”

In the letter written by Hastings, the mayor calls Lambert “probably … my best friend” and discusses Lambert’s “honesty and helpfulness to others.”

“When I consider his value as a citizen, I would say that [he] has far more to offer society on the ‘outside’ where he can be his productive self than being put away where his good deeds will be missed,” Hastings said.

The letter is signed “Drew Hastings, Mayor, City of Hillsboro, Ohio.”

Hastings testified during his 2016 criminal trial in Highland County Common Pleas Court that he previously lived with Lambert.

The entire letter, dated Dec. 20, 2017 reads:

“Judge Dlott,

Robert (Bob) Lambert has requested that I send a letter of support in consideration of his sentencing.

Bob and I have known each other since 1981, or 36 years.

I would probably consider him my best friend.

We met when we both were trying to become standup comedians and comedy writers.

I ended up having a successful career in standup comedy and Bob took a more traditional route into the business world.

When I think of Bob’s character, the first thing that comes to mind is that he’s a kind person. He has always been considerate when dealing with others. He is, at times, selfless to a fault.

He is very adept at repairing things, for example. So, he gets called on by me, and others, to help fix or repair anything from a car to a broken window.

And because he has a knack and knowledge for fixing things, he has always gone out of his way to help people around him who’ve been stuck.

One example – he has, for a number of years volunteered to do tax returns for low income people in the community at no charge.

Honesty. Another trait that comes to mind when I think of Bob. Many times over the years he has been entrusted with not only money and assets of mine, but in his work with non-profit agencies, he’s been trustworthy in managing their assets.

In the above descriptions of his attributes, I guess I could cite examples, but frankly, his honesty and helpfulness to others has been a daily behavior, and not just a few examples that might come to mind.

Family. Though Bob and his wife have long been divorced, I have always been struck by his dedication to his children. Whether they’ve need [sic] help financially or emotional support, I have witnessed Bob’s positive influence on their lives.

Do I think Bob is perfect? No. Who isn’t flawed?

I think he could do more with his talents and excel in areas but he sometimes takes an attitude of “that’s good enough for now.”

So he doesn’t always finish projects he starts, but then we probably know a lot of people that come up short in that respect.

Overall, he’s been a good friend to me and many others.

When I consider his value as a citizen, I would say that has far more to offer society on the “outside” where he can be his productive self than being put away where his good deeds will be missed.

I appreciate your taking time to read and consider my comments.

Sincerely,

Drew Hastings
Mayor, City of Hillsboro, Ohio.”


Other letters written by relatives and friends have been sent to Dlott. Another letter filed Tuesday was submitted by an individual who was named in Lambert’s trial brief as having received child pornography via instant messenger from Lambert.

Lambert was indicted on four felony charges by a Hamilton County grand jury on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016.

Local law enforcement confirmed on Sept. 15, 2016 that the Federal Bureau of Investigation would be the lead investigative authority in the Lambert case, with evidence taken to the FBI’s Cincinnati office.

It was reported on Aug. 18, 2016 that two criminal charges against Lambert had been sent to a Highland County grand jury, following his preliminary hearing Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016 in Hillsboro Municipal Court.

A Highland County grand jury was convened Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. However, Lambert was not among those indicted.

Former Hillsboro Police Chief Todd Whited said that as the investigation developed, there was probable cause for the FBI to offer its assistance.

Lambert was arrested at his East Main Street home in Hillsboro on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016 and was charged with illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance, a second-degree felony; and pandering obscenity with a minor, a fifth-degree felony.

Lambert was terminated Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016 as director of the Highland County CVB by board president Tom Horst.

Lambert also was appointed by Hillsboro mayor Drew Hastings to serve on the Hillsboro Planning Commission and the Hillsboro Civil Service Commission.

In letters dated June 23, 2016 – but stamped received by the city on June 22, 2016 – Lambert submitted his resignation from his two city commissions, stating he resigned "due to increasing constraints on my time and other life events."

Both resignations were effective July 1, 2016. However, Lambert answered the roll call and voted during the July 18, 2016 Hillsboro Planning Commission meeting.

Prior to his arrest, Lambert had posted on social media that he was moving to Florida. He was arrested not long after that post.