Hard Fall: More Charges In Sweeping Cuyahoga County Corruption Probe

Reported by Paul Orlousky - email | bio
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - New developments in the federal Cuyahoga County corruption probe.

Bribery charges have been filed against John Carroll and Nilesh Patel. [Read the charging documents HERE]

The Federal information filed this morning say that East West Construction executive Nilesh Patel paid more than $678,000 in bribes to former Metrohealth executive John Carroll and a second unnamed Metrohealth executive.  The bribes were in return for contracts the company was awarded from 1998 to 2008.  The documents say East West won more than $50,000,000 in contracts from the county during that time period. [View breakdown of bribes received by John Carroll HERE]

Carroll and his family received trips to Florida, California, Chicago and New York which were paid for by Patel. Carroll also traveled to India with Patel, a trip that included a side trip to Japan.  Again, Patel picked up the tab. The documents also list jewelry, gift cards, home improvements, furniture and many other items all of which were paid for by Patel.

Statement issued by Mark Moran, President & CEO, The MetroHealth System

A year ago, MetroHealth System learned of possible corruption activity taking place within our organization. We immediately investigated and took the results of our investigation to federal law enforcement.

Since then, we have actively cooperated with the authorities in their investigation of two former MetroHealth employees, John Carroll and Tom Greco. Today, we learned that John Carroll was charged in U.S. District Court with, among other thing, conspiracy to commit bribery.

John Carroll previously served as Vice President of Facilities and Construction Services. He was terminated on July 14, 2008, after our own internal investigation confirmed that he had violated our ethics policy.

Charges also were filed against Nilesh Patel, an executive at East West Construction. Since 1999, East West Construction has bid for general trades contracts on approximately 40 construction projects at MetroHealth. Over the past 10 years, East West has been awarded general trades contracts in excess of $20 million for projects at MetroHealth's Main and Old Brooklyn campuses.

It is important to note that MetroHealth - like the taxpayers of this community - is the victim of the alleged criminal conduct. These former employees violated our ethics policies, misled me, the Board and their colleagues who trusted them and, we believe, deprived us of the honest services they were hired to provide.

We pledge to the residents of Cuyahoga County that we will continue to do everything possible to maintain the highest standard of ethics in our ongoing business practices. We absolutely will not tolerate employees who try to take advantage of public funding for their personal gain. Public resources are entrusted to us to provide the residents of Cuyahoga County with the best possible health care, and that is how we will continue to use those resources.

Over the past year, we reviewed our internal policies and procedures in an effort to ensure that this will not happen again. Among other things, we restructured the construction management department, instituted new processes and controls to provide early warning of violations of our policies and procedures, and created more competitive bidding for construction projects. We also have taken steps to make sure every employee understands our ethics policy and have hired a reputable professional accounting firm to serve as our internal auditor.

The conduct of these two former employees is tremendously disappointing to all of us at MetroHealth and we are outraged by the extent of these allegations. We have such fine, dedicated employees who work hard every single day on behalf of our patients and our community. The alleged actions of two individuals have caused great difficulty for all of us, betraying not only our employees but also our patients and our community.

We are grateful to the U.S. Attorney's Office and Cleveland FBI for their thorough investigation and hope that justice will be served on behalf of all who were harmed.

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