Letters show Mandel lobbied for indicted businessman Suarez
Two letters from State Treasurer Josh Mandel’s office show he lobbied for Suarez Corp., the North Canton company whose owner and CFO are facing charges of illegal campaign contributions. The Dayton Daily News reports that the letters were among the documents turned over to a federal grand jury back in January — as part of the investigation into Ben Suarez and Michael Giorgio. The letters reportedly sought help for Suarez in a California case that accused him of deceptive advertising. After each letter was written, Suarez allegedly agreed to raise $100,000 for the 2012 Senate campaign of Mandel and congressional campaign of Jim Renacci. The indictment says Suarez recruited employees and others to make the contributions in their names and had Giorgio reimburse them through payments disguised as salaries and then as profit-sharing. Mandel and Renacci returned the contributions. Mandel’s office says he knew nothing about the letters, and even if he did, they were not illegal.
Coronor's report confirms Castro suicide
A coroner's final report confirms Cleveland kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro died by hanging himself in his prison cell. The report by Franklin County’s coroner says Castro was unresponsive when prison guards found him the evening of Sept. 3 and that prison medical staff tried reviving him. The report made available Monday says no drugs were found in Castro's system. A preliminary coroner's report last month said the 53-year-old Castro hanged himself by attaching a sheet to a window hinge in his prison cell at the Correctional Reception Center outside Columbus.
Fourth fatal attack in Ohio prison under investigation
Authorities say they're investigating the fourth fatal attack in little over a year at a northern Ohio prison. The State Highway Patrol says 38-year-old Michael Dodson died Monday after being attacked in his cell a day earlier at the Toledo Correctional Institution. Four inmates have been killed at the Toledo prison by other inmates since September 2012. Records show violence has been on the rise since the prison started doubling up inmates in the same cell to deal with overcrowding. Dodson was serving a 40-year sentence for attempted murder and robbery in Seneca County.
Bomb plot defendant sentenced to 10 years
The last of five defendants in a failed plot to bomb a bridge over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Joshua Stafford could have received life in prison during sentencing Monday in an Akron federal court. The 25-year-old Cleveland man was convicted in June. Prosecutors say Stafford tried to use his cellphone to detonate explosives and wasn't aware that they were fakes created in a government sting. The intended target was the Route 82 bridge in Brecksville.
College savings for Cuyahoga children clears hurdle
A plan to start college savings accounts for Cuyahoga County children is moving forward. A county council committee last night signed off on Executive Ed FitzGerald’s plan to create the $100 savings accounts for 15,000 children to encourage them to attend college. The program will cost about $2 million for the accounts and initial administrative costs. The plan now goes to the full council for a vote. The effort would fulfill the county charter's mandate that county leaders establish a post-secondary scholarship program.
House flipper sentenced
A man accused of selling nearly 200 mostly dilapidated homes to unknowing buyers will spend five years in prison. California attorney Marc Tow, 62, agreed to plead guilty to charges including theft and money laundering. He and his company, EZ Access Funding LCC, bought and sold foreclosed properties in Cleveland neighborhoods in 2008 and then disappeared. In addition to jail time, Tow will also forfeit nearly 200 properties to the Cuyahoga County Land Bank and pay more than $300,000 to his victims.
First adult indicted in Steubenville rape case
A grand jury investigation stemming from the rape of a 16-year-old girl by two Steubenville High School football players has led to an indictment against a school information technology employee. William Rhinaman faces charges including tampering with evidence and obstructing justice. Attorney General Mike DeWine would not release specifics on the allegations. Two Steubenville football players were convicted in March of raping the West Virginia girl after an alcohol-fueled party in August 2012. The case gained national attention and divided the eastern Ohio community.
Canton extends Internet cafe moratorium
The city of Canton is extending its moratorium on permits for storefront sweepstakes parlors in case of legal challenges to a state law effectively banning the businesses, commonly known as Internet cafes. The Repository reports the six-month extension approved this week is meant to protect the city. The virtual ban signed by Gov. John Kasich in June restricts payouts at Internet cafes, which law enforcement officials believe have harbored illegal gambling operations. The attorney general has promised to enforce the payout limits. A group collecting signatures for a 2014 ballot issue that would have put the virtual ban on hold fell short in meeting the require number.
Hole found in Beaver Valley plant reactor lining
Furloughed civilian workers recalled
Akron-based First Energy says it’s found corrosion in the steel lining that shields the reactor at its Beaver Valley power plant in western Pennsylvania. The plant’s reactor was shut down last week for refueling and maintenance …and officials discovered a small hole over the weekend that has eaten through some of the steel liner that prevents radioactive material from leaking during an accident. Inspectors believe the hole was caused by a scrap of wood left behind during construction, which is the same thing that caused corrosion back in 2009. Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspectors are monitoring the situation and First Energy says there is no immediate harm.
A southwest Ohio base has recalled nearly all of its nearly 9,000 furloughed civilian workers but will again close the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force because of the partial shutdown of the federal government. A commander at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton says the base has a budget for paying employees but not for maintenance, training and other expenses. A spokeswoman for the Air Force museum says it wasn't among the operations that would be supported without further funding.
The Dayton Daily News reports the museum reopened Monday as the workers returned, but it will close again Tuesday and remain closed until more funding is worked out. The museum draws more than a million visitors annually as a top attraction in the region.
Youngstown-area murder case to go before Ohio Supreme Court
A decade-old Youngstown-area murder case will go before the Ohio Supreme Court today. Prosecutors want the high court to allow them to put Christohper Anderson on trial for the sixth time in the 2002 strangulation death of 22-year-old Amber Zurcher in Austintown. An appeals court ruled Anderson could proceed with an appeal to block another trial. Anderson’s attorney says a sixth trial violates due process and double jeopardy laws. Prosecutors disagree, saying the state isn’t required to dismiss after a certain number of trials.