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Government and Politics

Head of Cleveland anti-poverty agency charged with bribery
Middleton is accused of soliciting and accepting kickbacks from contractors

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
The former head of the anti-poverty agency is facing bribery charges.
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Federal charges have been filed against the former head of the Cleveland agency that operates Head Start and other antipoverty programs. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the charges.

LISTEN: Allegations against Middleton

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The board of the Council for Economic Opportunities of Greater Cleveland forced Jacqueline Middleton to resign in April, months after a federal grand jury subpoenaed agency credit cards and other records. Now the 69-year-old Middleton is facing four charges of steering agency business to contractors in exchange for $24,000 in cash, home improvements and other “things of value.”

Middleton has been charged in what’s called an “information,” which usually indicates a person is cooperating and likely to plead guilty.

The formal charges include bribery, conspiracy and fraud.

According to the U.S. attorneys office, Middleton used her job as president and chief executive of the council to get gifts from contractors over a period of four years.

The charges say she got kickbacks from a consultant and a contractor who did remodeling work at Head Start classrooms and offices. This allegedly began in 2008, about three  years after Middleton had been criticized for renting luxury cars and buying gifts with the agency's credit card. 

The council was organized to serve low-income people in Cuyahoga County and administers the Community Services Block Grant program and the Home Energy Assistance Program as well as Head Start.


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