Mission:

The Cuyahoga County Agency of Inspector General's Mission is to promote honesty and accountability in County Government. To this end, we commit to you that if you report an allegation of wrongdoing to our Agency it will be fully investigated and when appropriate a referral for further governmental intervention or internal discipline will be made. It is no longer business as usual in Cuyahoga County. This is about a change in the way we do business. We owe it to ourselves, to the taxpayers and to the residents of the county to engage in business practices of the highest ethical standards.

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Reviews


Issue Name:                Board of Revision Attendance/Timekeeping and Contracting
Department:
               Board of Revision
Source of Referral:    
Management
Issue Summary: On June 25, 2012, Agency of Inspector General (“AIG”) staff met with newly appointed Board of Revision ("BOR") Administrator Shelley Davis (“Davis”) regarding an ongoing AIG investigation.  During the interview, Davis expressed concerns regarding the attendance patterns of several BOR hearing officers.  Accordingly, Davis requested the AIG review the attendance history of the BOR hearing officers for discrepancies.  In addition, Davis indicated that several hearing officers were permitted by the prior BOR Administrator to obtain reimbursement from the County for personal subscriptions to the Northern Ohio Regional Multiple Listing Service (“NORMLS”).

Recommendation(s):
  • On September 5, 2012, the AIG issued a REPORT following regarding this review.
  • On October 1, 2012, the AIG received a RESPONSE from BOR management to the review report.

           
Issue Name:                  The Friends of the Monument Donations
Department Involved:  Soldiers and Sailors Monument
Source of Referral
:       County Council
Issue Summary
: The Cuyahoga County Soldiers and Sailors Monument (the “Monument”) is maintained by the Soldiers and Sailors Monument Commission (the “Commission”) which was created by Chapter 345 of the Ohio Revised Code. By law the Commission is prohibited from raising money for the Monument.   Therefore, the Commission created a 501(C)(3) in the name of The Friends of the Monument (“The Friends”).  The Friends is able to raise money to maintain the Monument.

In 2005, a restoration project was undertaken on the Monument.  The County provided approximately two million dollars ($2,000,000) from the General Fund to fund the project. The County provided the funding to The Friends with the understanding that the money would be reimbursed.  All money was to be used solely for renovations costs associated with the Monument.

The Friends received additional funds for this project from grants and donations. Specifically, a grant from the State of Ohio for five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) was given to The Friends in late 2010 or early 2011.  This grant was given through the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission (the “OCFC Grant”).  Over $250,000 was also donated to The Friends.  This money was specifically earmarked to pay for renovations.  The National Park Service also provided ninety-eight thousand dollars ($98,000) (the “NPS Grant”) to The Friends.

Funds from the OCFC Grant eventually were returned to the County.  Funds from other donations and from the NPS Grant have not been returned to the County. 

The Friends maintain a bank account with UBS Bank which holds the funds that are due to the County. As of the June 2011 banking statement, the balance in that account totals $253,083.96.  The bank statements contain numerous transactions indicating that the money in the account is used to pay non-renovation related expenses such as electric bills, copying costs and toner, plants, and insurance.

Neil Evans, the former President of the Board of Directors of both the Commission and The Friends, agrees that the money from the UBS account should be returned to the County.  Also, in a letter dated May 23, 2011, Council President C. Ellen Connally expressed her belief that the County is entitled to the money in The Friends’ account.

Recommendation(s): Issued letter to Law Director on August 26, 2011 recommending that the Law Department send a demand letter to the Friends seeking reimbursement of the remaining funds in the UBS bank account.

Result(s): The Law Department attempted to negotiate a resolution of this issue.  When negotiations failed, the Law Department issued a letter to the Friends on January 6, 2012 demanding return of the approximately $260,000 owed to the County.


Issue Name:                    Sherriff Appraiser's Property Tax Debt
Department Involved:    Sheriff / Executive Staff
Source of Referral:         Anonymous
Issue Summary:
The Agency of Inspector General received an allegation that a candidate for an appraisal position in the Sheriff’s Department has over $50,000 in property tax debt.  Subsequent investigation revealed that this individual owed in excess of $16,000 in delinquent property taxes and owned several properties currently in foreclosure.  The investigation also revealed that the individual had close business relationships with an individual charged in the County Corruption Investigation.

Recommendation(s): Referred information obtained during investigation to Executive Staff for review.

Result(s): Candidate has not received a contract for appraisal services.