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Nope, it's not THOSE guys

Tom Jackson • Mar 23, 2010 at 6:26 PM

If you've noticed some of the front page stories in the Cleveland Plain Dealer involving an alleged bribery scheme for property tax valuations, you may wonder if Erie County is using the same property tax assessment firm allegedly involved in bribes and kickbacks.

Erie County's auditor, Tom Paul, is happy to tell you the answer is "No."

As this story details, V.A.S. Enterprises allegedly gave Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo a total of $1.2 million (using cash stuffed in "manila envelopes and empty cigarette packs") to do appraisal work for Cleveland and environs. The costs of such overhead helped raise the value of the V.A.S. contract a whopping 64 percent.

Appraisals in Erie County are carried out with the help of a different firm, Appraisal Research Corporation, Paul told me when I got him on the phone Tuesday.

Referring to V.A.S, Paul said, "I've never seen their name before except in connection with the Cuyahoga County fiasco."

Ottawa County and Huron County doesn't use V.A.S., either, Paul said.

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