I-Team: Watching Your Tax Dollars

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Payroll Project: 11 more public employees top $100K

The I-Team continues to research how much public employees are paid at area governments as part of our Payroll Project.Since our original investigation ran — including pay information and pointing out payroll anomalies from 19 area counties, cities and townships — we have added a few to the list.This includes ...

Charter school troubles

Six felony chargesBoardmembers, superintendents, treasurers and a vendor for a charter school that closed in 2010 have all since been named in criminal charges or audit findings.Trial is still pending for the two boardmembers and superintendent from Arise Academy charged in federal court with taking bribes and kickbacks from a ...

Investigations focus on time off, free OSU tickets, missing fuel

A controversial “incentive pay” policy and long-awaited closure in Ohio’s Coingate scandal highlight two of the 90 completed investigations into wrongdoings recently listed in the Ohio Inspector General’s 2014 annual report.At year’s end, the OIG received 363 complaints of wrongdoing in 2014. Read up on the agency’s findings while you ...

State ethics commission investigated 50 public officials in 2014

The Ohio Ethics Commission investigated 50 allegations of wrongdoing by public officials in 2014 and weighed in on ethics questions posed by 163, according to its recently released annual report. The vast majority of these cases had to do with alleged conflict of interest and awarding of public contracts. The ...

GovWatch: County has spent $26K investigating racists texts

An investigation into racist text messages allegedly shared between Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office employees has cost taxpayers $26,784.89, and counting.That is the cost of the hours six investigators spent analyzing messages and interviewing the involved parties before issuing a 94-page report that led to the firing of a sheriff’s office ...

State expenditures in 2014

Mandel wants all public checkbooks online

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel is drafting a letter to 3,900 cities, counties and school districts in Ohio offering to help them follow his lead and document every penny they spend on a user-friendly website — at no charge. If they ignore the offer, Mandel says they can expect a phone ...

GovWatch: Laws allow felons to serve on charter school boards

Ohio Auditor Dave Yost says state law should ban convicted felons from serving on charter school boards — and should require charter boardmembers to file ethics disclosure forms — after his office found former felons serving on boards in Columbus and Cleveland.Yost says a routine audit found that Michael Davie, ...

Ed Foster is a dialysis patient at DaVita and has concerns about how care is provided. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Medicare’s tab for dialysis doubles in 10 years

Life-saving treatments for advanced kidney failure come with a massive and growing price tag for federal health programs, along with concerns that patient care is taking a backseat to profits, an I-Team investigation found. The I-Team reviewed federal Medicare data to identify area dialysis clinics with higher-than-expected mortality and hospitalization ...

Casino tax income dropped in 2014

Ohio’s counties and schools received less tax money from the state’s four casinos in 2014, a trend that experts say could continue this year. The casinos provided $267.4 million in revenue tax deposits from last year’s earnings to seven state funds, including those that pay counties and schools. Nine area ...

Wrongdoing at state level erased with expungment orders

A key state lawmaker said he’s prepared to take action after an I-Team investigation found that revelations of wrongdoing in state agencies and recommendations to improve government oversight are being systemically scrubbed from the public record.Since November 2013, three investigations by the Ohio Inspector General that led to criminal charges ...

Gov Watch: E-school employees charged school for weekend in Vegas

Vice and publicly funded charter schools don’t mix, officials advise. That means what happens in Vegas does not always stay in Vegas. And people shouldn’t be looking for love on a charter school management nonprofit’s website.A Las Vegas trip was made in 2013 by two employees of the Electronic Classroom ...

I-Team investigation: Are utility programs enough to help everyone?

Ohio utility customers paid $64 million more last year to subsidize utility bills for low-income Ohioans, but some still struggle to get the help they need, an I-Team investigation found. People seeking home heating assistance have clogged the phone lines for Community Action Partnership of Greater Dayton, frustrating those in ...

David Collins looks at his 2013 calendar, where he documented when he went to the VA with problems. He said it took months for the VA to schedule a biopsy, then months more for them to treat his tumors once they were found. His private sector doctor says it should take a fraction of that time. He is suing the VA. JIM WITMER / STAFF

Deadly delays: Veterans say VA takes too long to diagnose, treat cancer; agency says it’s making strides

David Collins earned a lifetime of medical care in the jungles of Vietnam 45 years ago. But back home, where he fought for his life earlier this year, the Army veteran feels the VA medical system let him down. Sitting in his Springfield apartment, Collins pulled out a calendar that ...

Local company’s contract with VA questioned

A top Veterans Affairs contracting official steered $15 million of work to a Huber Heights company owned by friends of hers, according to a report released this month by the VA Office of Inspector General.The report was released the same month the company, Tridec Technologies, was awarded a $9.2 million ...

Air Force veteran Steve Finfrock protests in front of the office of U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, because he has spent six years trying to get his VA disability claim processed. Finfrock took his complaint all the way to the cell phone of U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald. DEE MOORMAN / STAFF

Local vet takes complaint straight to VA secretary

After fighting six years to get his VA disability claim approved, Air Force veteran Steve Finfrock said he finally made progress only after getting U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald himself on the phone.How he did that was equal parts luck and tenacity.Finfrock, 56, lives in Miami Twp. He ...

GovWatch: Audits dings Darke County village

Recent state audits have shed light on alleged misspending in two tiny Darke County governments.The village of North Star, for example, over-paid two village fiscal officers and a village councilmember at the same time the village books were kept in disarray, the state auditor’s office found.The audit says fiscal officer ...

Kandy Brown plays with her 3-year old son D’Amir in their apartment at the Family Living Center, 829 S. Gettysburg Avenue. Homefull, a Dayton-based charity, owns the complex that includes 38 apartments that provide transitional housing for the homeless. Homefull raises about 30 percent of donated funds in the month of December. JIM WITMER / STAFF

Big donations, plenty of scams

Americans are a generous lot. They give billions to charities every year, with nearly one-fifth of all donations made in the month of December. But generous givers can be vulnerable to scams, especially in the last month of the year when they often are inundated by nonprofits of all sizes. ...

Ohio now big target for tax fraud

Millions of Ohioans will likely have their state tax returns delayed next year because of a flood of fraudulent filings that officials attribute to rampant identity theft. A huge surge in fraud cases will slow processing of returns next year as tax officials try to confirm the legitimacy of each ...

Whistleblower: Company overbilled highway patrol

A contractor overbilled the Ohio State Highway Patrol for installation of security devices at posts in Dayton and across the state, according to a report from the Ohio Inspector General released Monday. A whistleblower tipped off the IG that Cleveland-area Safety Technologies Inc. was billing the state for the estimated ...

Congress faces tough decisions to ease sequestration

The Republican sweep of Congress in last week’s mid-term election may ease the impact of automatic defense budget cuts, but it isn’t a certainty that sequestration will be repealed, top defense analysts say.Democrats and Republicans won’t reach a deal on repealing the Budget Control Act of 2011, which imposed sequestration, ...

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