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Willoughby Hills senior program to be referred to state for criminal investigation

Posted at 5:57 PM, Oct 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-23 18:13:30-04

Willoughby Hills council members are asking for the state to investigate a senior citizen program in the city. The announcement came in a press release on Tuesday.   

The Willoughby Hills Isolated Senior Program for Everyday Relief program (WHISPER) is designed to help seniors with living assistance, but council members said it's gone well beyond that. 

"So it was advertised to do things like bring meals to people," councilwoman Laura Pizmoht said. "Over time, we are seeing the peoples gutters are being cleaned out. People's landscaping being done."  

Pizmoht said those in charge of the program are not following ethics and even helping folks with their finances.   

Council members said they brought allegations to the mayor more than a year ago, but concerns were dismissed. 

"We asked for information about the program. What the standards were. How it was run. Who was supervising. There were no responses," councilman John Plecnik said. 

News 5 reached out to Mayor Robert Wegner for comments, but he never responded. 

Earlier in October, the Mayor fired six of his seven council members, citing a section of the city's charter, while accusing them of malfeasance.  

A judge gave them their job back. 

The next city council meeting is Oct. 25 at 7:00 p.m. The future of the WHISPER program is on the agenda.