CLEVELAND — Thirteen Cleveland firefighters have each been indicted on one count of theft in office and one count of soliciting or receiving improper compensation, according to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty.
Cleveland hired a former Federal Prosecutor as a Special Investigator as the result of a July 2011 audit by the Cleveland Division of Internal Audit assessing the Cleveland Division of Fire’s policies regarding personnel and payroll activities.
The investigation found thirteen firefighters each failed to work 2,000 hours of their scheduled time from 2006 through 2010, but were compensated for that time. The most serious case was Calvin Robinson, who failed to work approximately 4.5 years of his compensated time. The firefighters each received their yearly salary, health benefits, vacation and sick time as well as pension money.
The investigation also found that firefighters paid other employees to work their shift, allowing them to have a second full-time job.
“The public’s trust was violated. In addition to not working and receiving full pay, these individuals abused the system and collected retirement, vacation, medical and other benefits,” McGinty said in a statement Wednesday. “They caused other firefighters to work multiple days without rest. Fatigued firefighters put the safety of the people who are in danger at risk as well as their fellow firefighters.”
The following firefighters are listed in the indictment:
Calvin Robinson, 52, of Cleveland
Kevin Dever, 42, of Cleveland
Bernard Fronhapple, 51, of Rocky River
Barry Kifus, 40, of Painesville
Kevin P. Kelly, 52, of Olmsted Falls
James Oleksiak, 44, of Cleveland
Robert Graham, 50, of Lakewood
Michael Milano, 53, of Broadview Heights
Nicholas Rucella, 49, of Cleveland
Gary McNamara, 48, of Bay Village
Peter Corso, 47, of Concord
Thomas Jurcisin, 51, of Cleveland
Daniel Losteiner, 45, of Cleveland
The City of Cleveland announced the firefighters would be immediately relieved of duty following the indictment. An administrative pre-disciplinary hearing will be scheduled. At that time, the city expects the firefighters will be suspended without pay pending adjudication of the charges.
Chief of Fire Daryl McGinnis will adjust the staffing schedule so the community is not impacted.
The Association of Cleveland Firefighters, Local 93 said it is aware of the audit and is expecting to gain a greater understanding of the circumstances regarding the indictment.
“We have been and will continue to represent our members in all matters related to the terms and conditions of their employment,” the Association said in a statement Wednesday. “As always, Cleveland Firefighters remain united and committed to protecting the lives and property of the citizens, businesses and visitors of the City of Cleveland.”
The investigation is ongoing. The firefighters will be arraigned May 30.