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Trio of current and former officials indicted in Cuyahoga County corruption probe

Posted at 3:22 PM, Jan 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-19 15:09:43-05

CLEVELAND — A Cuyahoga County grand jury has indicted a current and two former county officials following a corruption probe into their alleged illicit activities.

The following people have been indicted: Emily McNeeley, former assistant law director and general counsel for Cuyahoga County’s Department of Information Technology; Ken Mills, the former Cuyahoga County regional corrections director; and Douglas Dykes, Cuyahoga County’s chief talent officer.

According to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, McNeeley went before county council on Sept. 19, 2016, and recommended a $9 million contract be awarded to an IT company named Ciber, Inc. City officials say that McNeeley didn’t inform the county her father, who is the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commissioner, was convicted of bribery charges involving Ciber, Inc.

“McNeeley’s material omission directly affected council’s decision to award the contract to Ciber,” officials said.

Less than six months later, the company declared bankruptcy. Authorities said the contract McNeeley signed required Ciber, Inc. to get a performance bond for the services, which they failed to do so.

McNeely also allegedly negotiated county contracts with Hyland Software, a local company where her spouse worked in upper management in the Government Contracting Division from December 2016 to November 2017. During her county employment, authorities say McNeeley didn’t disclose information about her spouse working for a company benefiting from county contracts.

Officials also said McNeeley handed over “confidential material” on contracts to Hyland Software.

According to authorities, Mills went before the county council on May 22, 2018, to talk about medical services at the jail. Mills allegedly “lied to council about his role in blocking the hiring of necessary nursing staff for jail facilities.”

Two months later Mills allegedly lied again to both local and federal authorities about interactions with another county official.

Authorities say Dykes “used his position as chief talent officer for Cuyahoga County to convert moving expenses” for another county official into a signing bonus of $15,000 between July 24, 2017, and Sept. 22, 2017. Officials say that while Dykes asked for authorization to change improper moving expenses into a signing bonus, he never received a go-ahead. Dykes then allegedly lied to county officials and claimed that the law director approved the conversion into a signing bonus.

“Ten years ago, county government drowned in a sea of corruption. Citizens rightly expected that the new form of county government would usher in an era of high ethical behavior and effective governance,” said Prosecutor Michael O’Malley. “Sadly, today’s indictments demonstrate that our new form of government has not met those expectations. Our investigation continues.”

The investigation that led to the indictments was a joint effort of county and federal authorities.