Saturday, February 22, 1997
Five escape golf charges
Police thought they had case for more indictments

BY KRISTEN DELGUZZI
and ADAM WEINTRAUB
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A six-month police investigation of the troubled Cincinnati golf division reported wrongdoing by six current or former workers, but only former golf director Thomas Bryant Creasman was indicted.

''We don't feel the indictment covers the extent of what investigation we carried on,'' Cincinnati Specialist William O'Brien, of the fraud squad, said Friday. ''We felt like we had the evidence to produce an indictment (against others).''

Never addressed, he said, was the bulk of information included in a two-binder investigative summary presented to prosecutors in December. That summary included an outline that recommended a total of 18 felony charges against six current or former workers in the golf division.

''It's not that Creasman didn't deserve to get indicted,'' said Spc. O'Brien, adding that neither he nor his partner is upset with prosecutors. ''He was the main player, .Ç.Ç. but he didn't act alone.''

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters said Friday that prosecutors were exercising their discretion when they decided not to pursue charges against a number of current or former workers, some of whom likely committed crimes.

''Although police opinions are important to me, we are going to assess cases on their merit and the potential for gaining convictions,'' he said. ''We don't do what the police want us to do all the time ... and that's the way it should be. We should not be a rubber stamp for the police department.

''There's a lot of things that were severely mismanaged and stunk to high heaven, but we have to be able to prove an element of a crime when we walk into court.''

Though not charged criminally, some who were investigated still could have to answer to the Ohio Ethics Commission or to city administrators.

Mr. Creasman, 50, of Anderson Township, is charged with six felonies: theft in office, bribery, having an interest in a public contract and three counts of tampering with records.

Mr. Deters said there were numerous factors involved in the decision to concentrate on Mr. Creasman instead of - among others - the two golf pros who allegedly faked vouchers at their supervisor's direction. Some of the factors include the admissibility of evidence and whether the workers were cooperating with the investigation.

Mr. Creasman surrendered to police Friday - the same day the city's Recreation Commission placed him on paid, indefinite leave. He was released from custody on his promise to return to court.

Mr. Creasman, who was transferred laterally in November to supervisor of the city's riverfront property, makes $64,588 a year.

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