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Charges filed against former director of Flats Oxbow

4:36 PM, Nov 8, 2012   |    comments
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A criminal information has been filed today charging the former executive director of the Flats Oxbow Association with taking more than $580,000 from the organization.

Thomas L. Newman, 65, of Cleveland was charged in a two-count information with theft and embezzlement in federally funded programs and money laundering. He is accused, according to the information, of allegedly using the money for his own personal use.

Newman's attorney, Kevin Spellacy, said Newman has reached a plea deal but declined to specify the terms. Spellacy said his client "is a very sick man right now," but declined to elaborate.

The association closed last year when investigators began checking into financial irregularities.

The Flats Oxbow Association was a non-profit organization that was supposed to represent the interests of businesses and residents of the Flats neighborhood in Cleveland.

Between 2006 and 2011, the FOA received $393,758 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through Community Block Grants administered by the City of Cleveland, according to the information.

Newman was appointed executive director of the FOA in 2006 and reported to the FOA's Board of Trustees. Newman's job included soliciting donations for the organization, collecting dues from members and origination, maintenance and retention of all financial records, according to the information.

He was paid an annual salary of approximately $50,000 for this job, according to the information.

Count One charges that from 2006 through on or about March 31, 2011, Newman knowingly wrote numerous checks from the FOA payable to cash for his personal use.

He also used FOA credit cards to purchase materials for the renovation of the property at 1250 Riverbed Street, in which his wife has a personal interest and FOA had no interest, according to the information.

Count Two charges that Newman tried to conceal and disguise the nature of the aforementioned FOA check payments and credit card transactions.

"This defendant is accused of taking more than half a million dollars from an organization that was trying to improve our city," Steven Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio said.

"We will continue to root out public corruption and misuse of tax dollars in all its forms," Stephen Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Cleveland office said.

The Flats Oxbow Association was a non-profit organization that was supposed to represent the interests of businesses and residents of the Flats neighborhood in Cleveland.

WKYC-TV

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