Cuyahoga County corruption probe stretches into Mantua

2:50 PM, Aug 19, 2010   |    comments
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Canepa is the former business manager for Maple Heights schools. Both were arraigned at 2 p.m. this afternoon in federal court in Akron before U.S. District Court Judge John R. Adams.

The indictment charges Canepa with one count of theft, two counts of conspiracy to commit bribery, one count of Hobbs Act violation, and one count of mail fraud. They relate to his actions involving Maple Heights schools.

He's charged with steering contracts in return for bribes, including $3,000 for a shed and $1,300 in air conditioning equipment at his home in Mantua.

The indictment also charges Edwards with bribing Canepa and a former school treasurer who has pleaded guilty.

Defense attorney Mark Marein says Canepa will plead not guilty to the bribery charges but is willing to discuss admitting to pocketing $2,000 from the sale of a stolen boom lift.

The indictment charges Edwards, owner of C. Edwards Landscaping, Inc., who did subcontracting work for Maple Heights schools, with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, one count of Hobbs Act violation, and one count of bribery.

Over the past two years, federal documents in the ongoing corruption investigation repeatedly refer to violations of the Hobbs Act.

The Hobbs Act, named after U.S. Congressman Sam Hobbs, is a federal law that prohibits actual or attempted robbery or extortion affecting interstate or foreign commerce.

One section of the Hobbs Act also details conspiracy to commit robbery or extortion without reference to the conspiracy statute.

The Hobbs Act was passed in 1946 as an amendment to the 1934 Anti-Racketeering Act.

The Hobbs Act was originally enacted as a statute to combat racketeering in labor-management disputes, but the statute is frequently used in connection with cases involving public corruption, commercial disputes, and corruption directed at members of unions.


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