Letter from city attorney confirms FBI investigated Metropolitan Sewer District

Letter from city attorney confirms FBI investigated Metropolitan Sewer District
Posted at 2:20 PM, Jan 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-26 07:25:23-05

CINCINNATI -- A letter from the city solicitor confirms rumors that the FBI has investigated the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati.

The letter, written by City Solicitor Paula Boggs Muething to John J. Williams, an attorney representing City Councilmember Charlie Winburn, claims officials recovered documents removed from Winburn's office and turned them over to law enforcement officials with the FBI and Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Rosalind Fultz, an aide from Winburn's office, had a janitor move five boxes from Winburn's office to a closet/storage area under the stairs in the basement so she could return after hours and take them home, according to the letter.

When the janitorial staff supervisor learned about the boxes of documents, the supervisor contacted the clerk of council's office over concerns that the alleged removal may have been improper, according to the letter.

Officials in the clerk's office called Boggs Muething, Chief of General Counsel Roshani Hardin and two assistant police chiefs, Paul Neudigate and David Bailey, to deal with the issue.

The four looked through the boxes to check if any original/public records were improperly removed, according to the letter.

"After a quick assessment of the contents, four boxes contained several notebooks containing handwritten notes and significant numbers of manila file folders containing documents that appeared to be original public records, as well as some newspapers," Boggs Muething wrote. "One box contained only old newspapers."

Earlier this month, Winburn said he didn't know why the FBI had boxes from his office and Fultz, his aide, said the boxes contained old newspaper articles and desk clutter she was going to take home to sort out.

"It was really just an attempt to organize some materials," Fultz said then.

In order to preserve the records and avoid bringing Cincinnati police into a political issue, the four looking through the documents decided to have an outside agency determine if there was any wrongdoing, according to the letter.

"This was particularly important, given the pending state audit and FBI investigation into past MSD procurement practices," Boggs Muething wrote.

The FBI had the boxes and transferred them to the Ohio Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation, according to the letter. BCI agents interviewed several people from the janitorial staff and the clerk of council's office.

Boggs Muething wrote that the boxes had been returned to Cincinnati police and would likely be returned to Winburn Wednesday.

Winburn will hold a news conference Thursday morning to discuss the return of the boxes and allow reporters "to look through the boxes in question, in the state that they were returned to the Winburn office," his chief of staff announced.

Read Boggs Muething's full letter below:

City solicitor letter by James on Scribd