The Stark County recorder’s office was swamped with a massive filing request Monday from one customer — Chesapeake Energy. The request involved about 3,000 pieces of paper and took more than five hours to process.
The Stark County Recorder’s office was swamped with a massive filing request Monday from a single customer — Chesapeake Energy.
A company representative inundated the office by filing 1,046 leases for oil and natural gas rights. The document request was processed in roughly five-and-a-half hours, said Stark County Recorder Rick Campbell.
During that time, the office could not handle filing requests from other customers, Campbell said. He cited budget and staffing cuts as the reason.
The 1,046 lease documents for mineral rights totaled 3,028 pages that had to be scanned, processed and computerized, he said.
Since last summer, Chesapeake, which has a field office in downtown Canton, has acquired drilling rights to more than 1 million acres in Ohio and is seeking more leases.
Chesapeake, based in Oklahoma City, specializes in drilling shale rock formations to extract oil and natural gas.
Campbell said the volume of documents was the most the office has handled from any single customer at one time during his roughly 12 years as recorder.
In each of the last two years, the recorder’s office has handled roughly 1,000 filings annually for leases related to mineral rights. Essentially the staff did what amounts to one year of work in one day, Campbell said.
“It does affect the real estate community because it slows things down,” he said.
Campbell said it may have been impractical for Chesapeake to have filed the large volume of leases via the Internet.
The recorder’s office collected $31,572 in fees from Chesapeake’s filings Monday, he said. The county shares the revenue with the state, Campbell said.
Deeds, mortgages and other real-estate related documents also are processed in the recorder’s office. Documents also can be filed over the Internet at the recorder’s website, Campbell said. About 30 percent of the office’s documents are handled that way.
Typically, a customer may wait up to 15 minutes to get a document request processed, Campbell said. “We’ve computerized this office totally and rarely do we have a line,” he said.
The delay upset other customers. Some left and returned later. The office handled the mountainous request the best it could, Campbell said.
“I understand the frustration, but, again, we’ve never had a day like this,” he said of the massive filing. “It’s amazing.”
The Chesapeake representative showed up around 10 a.m. and the filings were processed by 3:30 p.m., Campbell said.
“We never anticipated we would be doing this work with this much staff,” he said, noting the office has gone from more than 20 employees about 10 years ago to eight currently. Four employees used to handle document filings at the counter compared to one currently, Campbell said, adding that a single employee also handles Internet filings.
Page 2 of 2 - The Chesapeake representative “was respectful and apologized for taking up so much business,” he said.
Campbell said he expects business to return to normal today.
An email message seeking comment was left Monday with a Chesapeake spokesman.