DAYTON, Ohio(WDTN)- Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein told reporters Tuesday that the city brought on legal counsel to conduct their own investigation after accusations that a former elected official and a current city employee were indicted on public corruption charges.
Cedarville University hisotry and law professor Mar Clauson, said corruption is unfortunately common at the local level.
Clauson used to approve contracts at the state level.
“When the contract was related to somebody, who was related to a state official, I was suspicious and it raised red flags for me. I would say let’s hold this one back and let’s take a look more closely,” Clauson said.
While he’s not in anyway related to the current indictments, Clauson explained what city officials could be looking for.
“They’re going to have to determine if one of their officials or their employees has been involved in this and the federal prosecutors did say there could be more indictments coming down,” Clauson said.
Clauson said sorting out the fair contracts could be where the investigation gets tricky.
“How are you going to prove that in return for solicitating something you got a favor? Or was this a natural outgrowth? Would these contracts have been awarded anyway?” Clauson said.
While cities lean towards the least expensive bid when awarding a contract to a vendor, a more expensive bid can be chosen if it meets the needs of the project. Caluson said that could raise red flags but it doesn’t always.
Clauson expects federal prosecutors to be aggressive in closing this case.
“I could see this being a relatively easy case to prosecute for them,” Clauson said.
Dickstein said the city is in the midst of a thorough investigation of its employees, processes and project contracts including projects coming down the pipeline to evaluate if they need to be pulled.
Former Dayton City Commissioner Joey Williams, former state representative Clayton Luckie, City of Dayton Human Council official RoShawn Winburn and Dayton-area businessman Brian Higgins were indicted in Federal court on Tuesday, April 20, 2019, for charges ranging from conspiracy and bribery to mail and wire fraud.