CLEVELAND — The on-going Cuyhaoga County corruption investigation took an odd turn Thursday when prosecutors announced they were looking into the repayment of what investigation called an illegal bonus given to an ex-county employee.
"It appears someone is trying to manipulate the court, the county and the state," said prosecutor Matthew Meyer.
That bonus is the foundation for the criminal charges against the head of Cuyahoga County's human resources department, Douglas Dykes. Prosecutors say Dykes improperly converted moving expenses for a former IT employee into a signing bonus and then lied about it.
Dykes was indicted last January on theft in office, tampering with records, obstruction official business and falsification charges. He's pleaded not guilty.
During a court hearing Thursday, prosecutors revealed someone submitted a $10,362 check to the county claiming it was to re-pay the balance owed by the former employee. In court, Meyer said it appeared someone forged the former employee's name as the "remitter" on the cashier's check.
Investigators subpoenaed bank records and video in an effort to figure out who purchased the cashier's check which was dated January 14.
But prosecutors may not have to look too hard.
Dykes' attorney said he spoke with prosecutor and admitted his client made the payment.
Attorney Anthony Jordan said prosecutors previously told his client they wanted the money repaid. While he called the payment "ill-advised," Jordan denied the payment was an attempt to defraud anyone, and rejected the idea Dykes forged anything.
Jordan said he learned of the payment Wednesday, more than a week after Dykes got the cashier's check and had a human resources clerk take it to a county cashier.