Public officials play fantasy on your time

August, 5, 2012
8/05/12
12:02
PM ET
Fantasy footballESPN.com IllustrationSome public officials are finding themselves in hot water over playing fantasy sports at work.
In New Hampshire last fall, Ross McLeod, a local prosecutor in the town of Windham, didn't think there was much wrong with running his fantasy league from his office between court appearances. After all, he was playing with guys he knew for 20 years -- guys who worked at a Pizza Hut together as kids.

The trouble was that McLeod was also running for the job of town selectman, and that made him fair game.

Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group, filed a public records request for his emails and found that the 51-year-old was sending information about trades and payouts to league members on office time. As fast as you can say "trade Tebow," the town of Windham had a scandal on its hands, and McLeod was forced to resign his job under fire.

The story might have ended there -- a cautionary tale for public officials in these partisan times during which McLeod was still able to win the election despite the claims. But on July 18, the fantasy football furor in Windham took an even more bizarre turn.

The state's attorney general went to court for a warrant to search McLeod's home and included in the application a nine-page affidavit revealing that the prosecutor encouraged his friends to stonewall investigators.

"I can't say too much while the AG's Office has an open investigation," he wrote on Feb. 28. "Suffice it to say that I greatly appreciate what all of you have emailed in response to this purely political exercise. … I don't know if anyone will try to contact you via your email addresses. If anyone does, please let me know ASAP and do not respond to them."

• Click here to read the entire "Outside The Lines" blog entry
• Senior writer for ESPN The Magazine
• Author of "Wide Open: Days and Nights on the NASCAR Tour"; the New York Times best-selling "Sex, Lies and Headlocks"; and "Steroid Nation"

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