I-Team: Chief Latest Suspect in Corruption Scandal
MORELAND HILLS, Ohio — Moreland Hills Chief Of Police Thomas Flauto is the latest suspect in the county corruption scandal that first rocked Cuyahoga County back in 2008.
That was the year when subpoenas first started rolling into the Moreland Hills Police Department, demanding information related to an Ohio license plate.
An employee of the department was also summoned to appear before the grand jury.
“They actually sent a subpoena to our law director for public records, relating to our chief,” said Moreland Mayor Susan Renda.
Last August, almost four years after that first subpoena arrived, there would be another, asking for information on that same license plate. This time it was from the state.
We caught up with state Attorney General Mike DeWine Monday to ask the status of the case.
“Well this case is still pending, and I can’t really talk about it,” DeWine said. “It would be improper to do that, it is still pending.”
When asked how long the investigation may take, DeWine said he did not know.
The case was something Moreland Hills officials didn’t expect.
“Certainly I was a little surprised,” Renda said. “Moreland Hills is a quiet village, and I was a little surprised our chief was involved in something like this.”
Sources close to the investigation said a person close to former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora allegedly called the chief and asked him to run a license plate. Doing so required the chief to use state equipment.
The I-Team is not releasing the name of that person because there have been no charges filed.
“Ohio law is very clear that you can’t do a background check, run a license for example, unless it is for police purposes,” DeWine said. “It has to be for law enforcement purposes.”
Dimora was convicted last year of several charges including bribery and racketeering. He is now serving a 28-year sentence.
The chief has not been charged with any crime.
The police chief did not want to go on camera but said he doesn’t feel he has done anything wrong or violated any laws.
His attorney, Dominic Vitantonio, agreed and stressed the chief has had an outstanding career that has spanned over four decades.
When the criminal investigation is completed, Moreland Hills officials plan to do an internal assessment of the department.
For much more on the Cuyahoga County corruption scandal, click here.