Cuyahoga County Engineer: 'I'm embarrassed, humbled and angry'

6:38 PM, Jun 15, 2009   |    comments
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"I thought we were running a good operation. We were helping communities. But I can't put my family through this. This is devastating. I put my trust in people and was duped," Klaiber said.

Klaiber, who has been county engineer since 1999, says he will not run for re-election when his current term is up in three years.

"As county engineer, I have focused my expertise in the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges and the infrastructure of this county," he said. "Many of the administrative tasks of this agency were delegated to those who I felt were well qualified and experienced. I had trust and confidence in these people and that trust was, ultimately, betrayed."

He said he met with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason's office Monday morning but did not elaborate as to the reason.

He said his office will meet with an internal and external auditor starting Tuesday to thoroughly look at all the office's contracts for any irregularities.

The engineer's office is located at the Stonebridge residential/commercial building on the West Bank of The Flats. It is owned and managed by the K&D Group.

Klaiber said he learned of a "free condominium" at the Stonebridge for the use of certain county officials when the FBI arrived at his office July 28 with subpoenas.

The use of a free, furnished condo, complete with cleaning services, was allegedly in exchange for moving the engineer's office there in 2003, according to the federal criminal charges filed Friday.

The three employees Klaiber spoke of -- J.Kevin Kelley, Kevin F. Payne and Daniel P. Gallagher -- all worked for the engineer's office and have been charged with conspiracy, bribery, theft and failing to file proper tax returns.

Payne was Kelley's superior. Payne retired in March as the office's Chief of Staff and Gallagher retired as Chief of Staff in 2002.

Kelley resigned as the office's information technology director on Friday, the day the federal charges became public.

Kelley was a "shared employee with the auditor (Frank Russo's) office," Klaiber said.

On July 28, about 175 FBI and IRS agents simultaneously raided the offices and homes of Kelley, Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo.

They also raided Klaiber's office, Alternatives Agency on East 55th Street and several other businesses. Kelley also was a consultant for Alternatives.

The fourth man charged Friday, Brian Schuman, had recently resigned as director of operations for Alternatives. He was only charged with conspiracy.  


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