An Ashtabula councilman claims he tried doing the right thing only to have his name dragged through the dirt.
Reginald Holman says it began when he learned that the city would be tearing down an abandoned building across the street from his family's hair salon.
“I want people to continue to come and not let the environment turn them away,” he said.
At the time he had an idea: to recovered whatever might be salvageable inside the building and sell it for charity.
“There were some tables and stuff over there that we wanted,” he said.
With permission from Ashtabula's housing inspector, Holman sent a high school friend named Harrison Brown inside the building, where he allegedly found $260,000 stashed behind a fridge.
According to an affidavit, Brown kept some of the money and shared some of it with a friend named Jashon Hunt.
Hunt allegedly claimed he later witnessed Holman and the housing inspector, John Artuso, also sharing the cash.
Holman vehemently denies it and said he never even knew the money was there until he “heard it on the street.”
“People said that I was counting it. But that's not true,” he said. “I mean, I kind of wish I had $260,000 but I don't want it that way.”
Police became aware of the case on social media and searched Holman's property. Artuso, the housing inspector, had already been the target of an investigation for allegedly soliciting prostitutes on the job and accepting cash in exchange for passing home inspections.
Holman tells Channel 3 News that he eventually returned the few items he took from the building.
Calls to Ashtabula Police Chief Robert Stell on whether anyone would be charged were not returned Wednesday. City Manager Jim Timonere refused to comment on possible disciplinary actions.
As for where the money may have come from, The Star Beacon reports that the woman who once lived there died years ago and did not trust banks. A relative said they looked for the cash but never found it.
Online property records reveal the home is still listed in the deceased woman's name.