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Investigator: Mayor cracks down on city car misuse

10:53 PM, Aug 27, 2012   |    comments
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MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS -- Mayor Gary Starr has ordered one of his top officials to stop taking his city car home following an exclusive Channel 3 News investigation.

"This was a privelege given to him. There's been inappropriate behavior and we've taken immediate action to correct it, "said Mayor Starr.

Starr reacted to a hidden camera investigation that showed his economic development director, Charles Bichara, drive his city car at all hours of the day and night in a new subdivision where Bichara is having a new home built.

Hidden cameras caught Bichara stopping visitors, interrogating them, and even chasing one couple away.

Neighbors complained that Bichara was seen at the development checking out his property four to six times a day.

Starr said he'll be happy to review the city policy on city cars after a councilman and the development's Realtor, Tim Ali, called for reforms.

Bichara has been told he'll have to reimburse an undetermined amount of money for his personal use of the city vehicle.

City code calls for discontinued use of a city vehicle if it's used for personal business.

But Starr says Bichara has been a good employee and he had to consider his work record in determining what action to take.   

WKYC-TV

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