Saturday, June 10, 2000

Attorney General joins Villa Hills investigation

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        VILLA HILLS — The Kentucky Attorney General's office has moved quickly on an investigation into a $25,020 check that Villa Hills Mayor Steve Clark sent to a Florence concrete company.

        Investigators from the public corruption unit were in the city this week, inter viewing city officials and employees and reviewing documents.

        The investigation centers around the check Mr. Clark sent to All-Rite Concrete of Florence for sidewalk construction.

        The company cashed the check, but returned the money after saying it had not received any order for sidewalk construction. City Council members requested a probe because under the city's purchasing procedures, expenditures of $10,000 or more are supposed to be bid out.

        Council members have said they are unsatisfied with Mr. Clark's explanation for sending the check, which he called a mistake.

        Mr. Clark said he originally had the check drafted to expedite sidewalk work in the city. He said problems with some council members and politics have worsened the situation.

        “As soon as I discovered the error, the money was returned to the general fund,” Mr. Clark said during a May 23 council meeting.“Accusations are being made that this was a planned attempt to defraud the people of Villa Hills. This is untrue, and I emphasize that as strong as I possibly can.”

        Corey Bellamy, spokesman for Attorney General Ben Chandler, confirmed Friday that an investigation has commenced but would provide no other details.

        Councilman Mike Sadouskas said he talked to investigators earlier this week.

        “They asked me a whole range of questions,” Mr. Sadouskas said Friday, declining to specifically discuss the questions.

        Mr. Sadouskas would not provide any specifics about the questions. But he did say the investigators “do have the paperwork” dealing with the check.

        Sources on council said other council members, city employees and Police Chief Mike “Corky” Brown have also been interviewed.

        Chief Brown refused Friday to comment.

        Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Don Buring and Villa Hills City Attorney Lawson Walker requested the probe. Mr. Buring said he was responding to questions raised in anonymous letters. Mr. Walker asked for the investigation after council voted for it two weeks ago.

        Council members Mr. Sadouskas and Steve Kramer have said the council and the residents just want answers about the check.


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