City solicitor has 'grave concerns' over MSD

Posted at 6:35 PM, Feb 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-22 18:40:09-05

CINCINNATI — When it comes to recent allegations made against the Metropolitan Sewer District, “the seriousness…cannot be overstated,” according to Cincinnati City Solicitor Paula Boggs Muething.

That’s according to a risk assessment memo, prepared by Boggs Muething and delivered to City Manager Harry Black Monday, prompted by those allegations earlier this month.

While Boggs Muething’s report states that many areas require continued investigation, she listed among those areas:

  • mismanagement of the budget and contracting
  • “widespread” use of contractors and consultants instead of a full time city employee
  • potential misuse of ratepayer or city funds

Boggs Muething recommended City Manager Harry Black call on an investigative team that is “in all respects independent” from city officials and administration to audit the district.

“The concerns raised in the course of these preliminary interviews are of a grave nature,” Boggs Muething concluded.

The city’s upcoming audit would join at least two other probes into the sewer district.

A recent report from the Hamilton County monitor found MSD to be ignoring its own modeling procedures, meant for defining pipe sizes for sewer projects.

Ohio Auditor of State David Yost also launched a special audit of the agency, in which officials will examine financial records and other information with an eye for any fraud, theft or misappropriation of funds.