Friday, June 12, 2009

J. Kevin Kelley, two other former county employees indicted; two unnamed elected officials also implicated

The first charges in the Cuyahoga County corruption scandal came down today. J. Kevin Kelley, the former county engineer's employee and former Parma school board president, is charged with corrupting county and Parma schools contracts. Two other former county employees also face charges.

The charging document also says two elected public officials, "PO1" and "P02," received "property not due to them" from "Business 1." The document doesn't name them (in federal prosecutors' practice of not naming uncharged people in indictments). It charges that J. Kevin Kelley provided PO1 and PO2 with gifts such as expensive meals and a trip to New Orleans, in exchange for the expectation of favors.

The description of Business 1 matches the non-profit Alternatives Agency. A fourth person indicted is Brian Schuman, a former co-executive director for Alternatives Agency. See this Plain Dealer story from March for more on the organization.

{Update, 4:20 p.m.: "I’m aware of that allegation, but have no personal knowledge to that effect," said Tom Griveas, the new executive director of Alternatives Agency. Griveas says he started his job in May, and that Schuman resigned a week later. The agency also has a new board of directors, he says. "The board of directors has wanted to take the agency in a new direction, to get away from the taint Mr. Schuman has placed on this agency. We do good work here and want to continue to do it."}

The charging document quotes conversations of J. Kevin Kelley's dating back to December 2007, suggesting that the feds may have electronically monitored Kelley.

"These charges mark the beginning of the end to the reign that a few corrupt officials have held in Cuyahoga County government," Frank Figliuzzi, head of the FBI's Cleveland office, said in a statement.

Read the U.S. Attorney's press release here and the prosecutor's court filing here.

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