I-Team: Misused county money; what went wrong?

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CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio — The FOX 8 I TEAM has obtained an Inspector General’s draft report looking into how Cuyahoga County misused nearly $300,000 in grant money.

The I TEAM revealed back in March the county had to pay back a big Homeland Security grant for a new fingerprint system after admitting the money was “not being utilized for the intended purpose.”

After we exposed this, County Inspector General Mark Griffin and internal auditors started digging into what happened.

Now we have a draft report on the findings.

In short, the internal investigation determined the grant had been mishandled through a series of missteps and delays and bureaucratic red tape.

The report points to bad planning and bad management in multiple areas of county government. In fact, one section lists step after step the County failed to take.

This comes with the county IT department already under a spotlight in a corruption probe. In court, a former administrator is facing 17 charges.

We wondered if anyone could face charges for the misuse of the grant. The Inspector General does not recommend criminal charges for this.

When we first started asking questions, Mike Young, County IT Director at the time, said, “We purchased the equipment. That project got delayed. The equipment is sitting dormant in our data center in Columbus.”

When we asked why no one had recognized earlier the County was going to lose the money, Young gave us an answer that blamed the “project timelines”.

Young has since left the job. The County has told us he stepped down for personal reasons.

The Inspector General’s report now gets reviewed by an Audit Committee.

The report also outlines a series of suggestions for making sure this never happens again.

As for the new fingerprint system, that would be used by the Medical Examiner’s office. That office is now taking other action to upgrade software while planning more upgrades with new technology in the near future.

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