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Ohio


FBI man hunt continues for NE Ohio credit union chief
Other noon news: Cleveland suburb merger stalls, Portman support Cordray, National Games and the heat
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
The FBI is searching for Alex Spirikaitis, the head of Taupa Lithuanian Credit Union, which authorities shut down.
Courtesy of FBI
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In The Region:
  • Cleveland suburb merger talks stall
  • Credit union CEO on the lam
  • Portman says he supported Cordray with caveats 
  • National Senior Games get set 
  • More heat in NE Ohio
  • Cleveland suburb merger talks stall
    The planned merger of four east-side Cleveland suburbs has been set aside for now. According to the Plain Dealer, talks of Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike and Woodmere have turned to a study of ways to share services while staying separate communities. Mayors of the four towns  announced two years ago that they were studying a merger that would help their communities cut costs and duplication. At the time, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald said it could be a model for a county that now has nearly 60 different municipalities.

    Credit union CEO on the lam
    The hunt continues for the CEO of Northeast Ohio credit union that state officials shut down this week. For Ohio Public Radio, Ideastream’s Brian Bull reports that authorities are looking for leads following a standoff at the executive’s home in Solon.

    BULL on credit union hunt
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    (0:55)

    Alex Spirikaitis is the CEO of the now-shuttered Taupa Lithuanian Credit Union, which had more than 1,100 members and assets of nearly $24 million. 

    On Monday, the Department of Commerce announced it had ordered the credit union shut down. Vickie Anderson of the FBI’s Cleveland office says a federal warrant was issued for Spirkiaiti’s arrest shortly after.

     “The actual charge on the arrest warrant is false credit institution entries, which kind of falls under the `embezzlement’ category.”

    Solon Police and the FBI surrounded Spirikaitis’ house Tuesday night, but when they finally entered late Wednesday morning, they found he wasn’t there. 

    The FBI has offered a cash reward for information leading to Spirkaitis’ arrest. He’s described as 5-foot-11, 225 pounds, with green eyes, a bald head and possibly a goatee.  Anderson says while he’s not believed to be armed. But “we’re not asking you to approach him, we’re just asking that if you happen to see him or if you have any information indicating his whereabouts, to please call that information in. They can provide that information anonymously, if they so desire.”

    As for customers of the Taupa Lithuanian Credit Union, a State Commerce Department spokesman says member deposits are insured up to $250,000. 

    Portman says he supported Cordray with caveats 
    U.S. Sen. Rob Portman says he thinks former Ohio Attorney General Rich Cordray got the vote he deserved in the Senate this week to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but that doesn’t mean he’s happy with the agency.

    LISTEN: Portman on Cordray concerns
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    “At the end of the day, there are deep concerns about CFPB. And those continue. People believe on our side of the aisle particularly and I think it’s fair to say that a lot in the private sector believe this, that it has tremendous impact on our lives and all financial transactions that are consumer oriented without the normal accountability that you would get.”

    Portman is introducing a bill to establish a separate inspector general to oversee the financial protection bureau. He was one of the Republicans who initially vowed to block any appointment to head the bureau unless changes were made in its structure. But he backed off earlier this year and says he was trying to broker a deal to confirm Cordray’s appointment while changing agency rules. That fell apart when Democrats threatened to change Senate filibuster rules.

    National Senior Games get set 
    The National Senior Games begin in Cleveland tomorrow, with some 11,000 athletes age 50 and up competing in 19 events. Some roads have been closed and Greater Cleveland RTA has set up additional bus and trolley routes to handle the crush of athletes and spectators.

    More heat in NE Ohio
    A heat advisory continues through 8 tonight  as Northeast Ohio struggles with at least two more days of temperatures in the 90s. Highs todays are expected to be in the low 90s under mostly sunny skies. Tonight, we'll drop to the mid 70s.

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