Friday, July 20, 2001

More testimony in buyout case

Lebanon officials get subpoenas

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — Three additional city councilmen have been subpoenaed to appear before a Warren County grand jury over early retirement buyouts taken by three former officials.

        Mark Flick, Ben Cole and Ron Pandorf are to testify this month, each confirmed.

        Mayor James Mills, Councilman James Reinhard and former Councilman Joe McKenzie were subpoenaed to testify in late June.

        Special Prosecutor Patrick Hanley is investigating buyouts received by City Attorney Bill Duning, City Auditor Debbie Biggs and Deputy Electric Director Bob Newton when they retired Dec. 31, 1999.

        Council approved moving the money but members later said they did not realize what it was for. The buyout program was meant only for electric department employees.

        It is not known whether Mr. Hanley's investigation has targeted anyone other than the buyout recipients. Grand juries, which hear only the prosecution's case, usually issue the indictments sought by prosecutors.

        The city has recovered $316,000 of the $486,000 paid to the Public Employees Retirement System, with the agency refusing to return only Mr. Newton's share.


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