Investigator Update: Report finds sting halted so Ohio Gov. Strickland not embarrassed

4:51 AM, Apr 30, 2010   |    comments
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Ohio Inspector General Thomas Charles said in a report Thursday that politics drove the decision by Ohio public safety director Cathy Collins-Taylor to stop the sting from happening.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said his office received a hand-delivered copy of the Inspector General's report and that it was sent to the office's white collar crime unit.

O'Brien plans to get the interviews and supporting evidence from the Inspector General so he can review whether criminal charges should be filed.

He said the office would focus on whether anyone lied under oath to the IG for a possible perjury charge.

Strickland told the Investigator Tom Meyer that it's common procedure to forward these type of investigations to the local prosecutor.

While he considers the matter serious, he doesn't believe it rises to the level of criminal wrongdoing.

In fact, Strickland said he doesn't plan to discipline any of his staff.

Meyer asked Strickland if he thought his administration tried to save him from political embarrassment.

"I don't know if they did. It wasn't necessary. I don't need that kind of protection.  I think they are good people and I think they operated in good faith and used their best judgment,"  Strickland said.

The report also found numerous problems with the program that allows inmates to work at the governor's residence in Bexley in suburban Columbus.

The report said inmates can walk unescorted outside the mansion where they received deliveries of contraband and had free access to knives, axes and other tools with no supervision.

The governor told Meyer that this has been a common practice for a long time at the mansion and he has no concerns about his or his family's safety.

He said, however, he is already implementing some of the recommendations in the Inspector General's report.

The sting targeted a planned January drop-off of drugs by a woman whose inmate husband worked at the residence.  

WKYC-TV/The Associated Press

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