Moreland Hills: No 'acting' police chief to take the reins

5:11 PM, Feb 27, 2013   |    comments
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MORELAND HILLS -- The Moreland Hills Police Department will rely on the "chain of command" and no "acting chief" will be appointed while Police Chief Tom Flauto is on unpaid administrative leave after being charged with a felony.

This is according to Moreland Hills Prosecutor Santo Incorvaia, who said Wednesday that he will be fielding all media calls regarding the Moreland Hills Police Department.

Incorvaia said Wednesday that "we have a chain of command in place which we will continue to follow...officers will do the same jobs..."

Incorvaia, who served as the mayor of Maple Heights for 12 years, also said that the department will assess how things are going as they progress. According to Incorvaia, the "chain of command" in the department directly under Flauto are Lt. Kevin Wyant, and then three sergeants -- Janet Boehler, Todd Dietzel and Ross Fowler.

On Tuesday, Mayor Susan Renda told Channel 3 that she would be appointing an acting police chief Wednesday afternoon.

Incorvaia did not respond when asked if Renda had changed her mind.

The situation arises after Flauto, 68, who has been the police chief for 11 years, was placed on unpaid leave Monday afternoon.

Flauto faces a criminal charge that his lawyer, Dominic Vitantonio, says involves an allegation of improperly accessing a state database four years ago as a favor to then-Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora.

Flauto is expected to appear Friday at his arraignment in Madison County Common Pleas Court on a felony charge of misuse of a computer, dating back to 2008. That is the county where the state database is located.

Vitantonio also told media outlets that Flauto did not use the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway database for any personal purposes or reasons or any personal gain and expects that prosecutors will charge that Flauto used the database to identify the owner of a license plate on behalf of Dimora.

In 2008, Renda and the village received a subpoena from the FBI seeking records of a search on the Ohio criminal database, likely for a license plate. On Aug. 16, 2012, a second subpoena was received, this time from the Madison County Prosecutor, asking for any reports between June 1-July 15, 2008, relating to an Ohio license plate that read "GOLFER."

The actual indictment has not been publicly released by the court because it has yet to be served on Flauto because he was on vacation Feb. 18-23.

Dimora is serving a 28-year sentence in federal prison at FCI Gilmer in Glenville, West Virginia after being convicted of 33 charges in the Cuyahoga County corruption probe.

Flauto and Dimora knew each other from when Dimora was mayor of Bedford Heights and Flauto was in charge of the Bedford Heights Police Department's detective bureau.

Flauto was hired and sworn in as police chief by then-Mayor Charles M. DeGross on Jan. 21, 2002.  


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