Sandusky housing scandal investigation continues

Sandusky officials said a criminal investigation into shoddy home repairs is ongoing, but they know nothing about the progress.
Andy Ouriel
Mar 28, 2011

Sandusky officials said a criminal investigation into shoddy home repairs is ongoing, but they know nothing about the progress.

The scandal could top $3 million in losses for the city.

The Office of Inspector General is still analyzing data from the city’s housing scandal, which ran from 2004 to 2006.

Almost 50 homes in the city qualified for home repairs through federal grants, but in the end the homeowners fell victim to malfeasance.

City-approved contractors worked on the houses, but in most cases they did more harm than good. 

The homes affected in 2004 and 2005 have since been repaired, while fixes to residences ruined in 2006 are almost complete, city commissioner Dave Waddington said.

City commissioners said they're still hoping to recoup some of the funds through insurance claims.

 

Read the rest of the story in Monday's Register.

Comments

Darkhorse

The city needs to get out of the housing program completely because there isn't enough help to monitor things.  You turn your back on the contractors and they are cutting corners any way they can if they know no one is monitoring the program.  What you get free may cost you in the long run.  The city doesn't have the time to babysit the contractors.  

Julie R.

Why would federal investigators want to keep progress reports and details on a criminal investigation a big secret from the city officials? Makes no sense. 

 

T. A. Schwanger
If I didn't know better I'd say this is one of those issues that will disappear into thin air.   Has the Register tried all their resources to force  the Feds and OIG office to at least confirm the investigation is ongoing?
DEEPsix's picture
DEEPsix

 The bottom line really ISN'T ABOUT THE BAD/SHODDY WORK DONE BY THE CONTRACTORS, BUT THE FACT CITY OFFICIALS WERE FUNNELING BIG $$$$ TO THEIR CONTRACTOR "FRIENDS" WHO IN RETURNED, MADE POLITICAL DONATIONS TO POLITICIANS.... It goes all the way to the top, and by sugar coating the "findings," and only pointing to "shoddy work" isn't going to bring justice on this scam...

The city officials who approved certain contractors, are the ones the DoJ needs to go after, and you'll see where a lot of the $3,000,000 bucks went! 

DEEPsix's picture
DEEPsix

 ALSO,  @ Julie R.... THE MAIN REASON "CITY OFFICIALS ARE IN THE DARK IS BECAUSE MANY OF THEM ARE TARGETS OF THE INVESTIGATION..."

brutus smith

 pete, is the investigation ongoing?

Bess

This reporting makes little sense.  There are guidelines for federal auditors and certain requirements that HUD/OIG would have to follow.  See:  http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d07731g.pdf

The statement made by Icsman “Interim city manager Don Icsman said federal investigators don’t provide city officials with progress reports or updates on the investigation”  would be a violation of the Yellow Book guidelines if it was a continuing audit.  If officials are in the dark a criminal investigation is implied. 

Centauri

http://www.sanduskyregister.com/2008/may/22/sandusky-sued-over-housing-program The city hired Murman and Associates of Lakewood to investigate the program. The investigation cost the city more than $28,000 in legal fees to be paid from Department of Development funds. The Ohio Department of Development sent monitors to investigate and the program files have been turned over to federal investigators.

http://www.sanduskyregister.com/2008/may/13/housing-investigation-legal-bill-03660000-and-counting  When commissioner Dan Kaman asked for a "ballpark figure" as to what the housing investigation cost the city, finance director Ed Widman replied it was in the range of $60,000 for three outside legal consultants, including Murman and Associates of Lakewood. Murray said the fraud and theft committed in the program were unforgivable. "We should go after these people," commission vice president Craig Stahl said.

Where are the fraud and theft charges? Three outside legal consultants? Murman? Feel-Good private investigation for some city officials perhaps?

Darkhorse

I would think the Finance Department plays a big part in this housing situation because the department paid out the money on the grant and they should have made sure the verification was there to go ahead and pay out the money to the contractors.  Bess, your information makes for good reading and very informative.

Centauri

http://www.sanduskyregister.com/2008/dec/04/feds-investigating-city-housing-official  The Inspector General's office also has subpoenaed company files from at least three of the seven contractors who worked with Warren on the CHIP program.

These investigations take time. Contractors in Cuyahoga County are spilling the beans on some public officials in that corrupt county. Recently a Common Pleas Judge was found guilty of 10 counts of lying to federal officials. http://www.cleveland.com/countyincrisis/index.ssf/2011/03/former_cuyahoga_county_judge_b.html

Kottage Kat

Murman

Aren't they connected with the Nussee fiasco?????  Making lots of money off your metropolis are they not??

Forward Looking

 Have the homeowners been making regular appearances at the City Commission Meetings? 

Also, the City of Sandusky should have administered the original program through an Architect who is ethically bound and they should be using an Architect now to fix the issue.  It would have been cheaper in the long run to do it the right way. 

WhatTheHeck

 Why wouldn't the city persue recovery of the money that taxpayers spent to renovate residences. Not completely sure where all the money came from (local, state or federal) but I do know that I pay each of those as do all other taxpayers. If the city does not seek recovery then I would think they are to be prosecuted for allowing a theft to take place. Go after every penny I spent on those houses. And by the way, do not spend any more of my money on someone elses' house. Fix the streets, fix the sidewalks, fix city property not private property.

Julie R.

Let's hope that this criminal investigation doesn't turn out to be one of those "Justice Delayed is Justice Denied" cases that Erie County is well-known for.

Woody Hayes

Beep beep beep beep beep.............................................

ReallyNow

Darkhorse, noone is getting anything for FREE, it is costing them now as well as in the longrun. True, the city didn't have the time to babysit the contractors, but they took on that responsibility and failed misserably. Shoot the city can't even babysit their own employees who were steeling the money in the first place. The City may have lost the program for the future but that doesn't mean they can forget the past. These people deserve safe homes and the city is responsible for at least that!

 

ReallyNow

The City of Sandusky needs to take responsibility for their ACTIONS and get this over with!

tdluvpit's picture
tdluvpit

Sounds like the good ol' boy corrupt officials in this city have been lining their pockets. Hopefully, an investigation will weed out the truth & these politicians & officials will be found out & held accountable. This whole city has the feel of big time organized crime. Perhaps the citizens will wake up to this. Maybe the feds need to come in & clean things up as they did in Youngstown before this city becomes a huge slum. Shame on those who misappropriated these funds!