Prosecutor winds up Corporex case

Friday, December 4, 1998

BY GREGORY A. HALL
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COVINGTON -- The grand jury examining whether Corporex Cos. Chairman Bill Butler went too far to win Kenton County construction projects will finish its work today.

Assistant Attorney General Hydee Hawkins, the prosecutor in the case, confirmed that the proceedings would finish today after Thursday's half-day of testimony.

That means the grand jury likely will decide whether to indict Mr. Butler over his actions in winning the competition to build a courthouse and parking garage.

The attorney general's office has been investigating for months to see whether Mr. Butler violated any laws in winning the contracts for the $36 million projects.

Mr. Butler and his attorneys have said the bidders' proposals were public records available to anyone once they were unveiled April 2, 1996.

Clyde Middleton, the county judge-executive at the time, pleaded guilty in October to a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct for showing competitors' bids to Mr. Butler.

In doing so, he testified he knew that parts of the bids were confidential when he allowed Mr. Butler to see them at his home the night they were opened.

The grand jury heard for three hours Thursday from Corporex Senior Vice President Tom Banta. After testifying, he declined to comment on what he told the jurors.

He also testified for an hour on Tuesday.

"As far as I'm concerned, I'm done," he said Thursday.

Those expected to testify today include county architect Rob Thrun, Fiscal Court Clerk Carol Brockell and County Attorney Garry Edmondson.

Mr. Edmondson testified last month for almost two hours before the grand jury. He said Thursday that he's been asked to talk about inconsistencies in Mr. Butler's testimony in a civil case about the bidding.

The county is suing Corporex and Mr. Butler to recoup an $850,000 settlement paid to the two losing bidders.

Mr. Butler told of the meeting with Mr. Middleton during a deposition Dec. 2, 1997. The developer said he wasn't sure if he took any notes. Later, on May 20, 1998, Mr. Butler in another deposition said he made notes about the bids at Mr. Middleton's home, but that to the best of his recollection did not take them with him.

Then, six days later, Mr. Butler signed an affidavit saying Mr. Middleton gave him the bids that night, and they were copied and returned to the judge-executive's office the following day.



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