Sudden End: Contractor Accused of Cheating Big Bucks From Local Schools

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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - 19 Action News has just learned of a sudden end to an investigation into your tax dollars that began almost three years ago.

A Bedford Heights contractor - RJ Martin Company - suspected of running a scam that cheated big bucks out of local schools.

"What about the allegations that you basically ripped off the district?" asked 19 Action News Reporter Ed Gallek in September of 2008

"Well, I can't really respond to those allegations," said Paul Cunningham of the RJ Martin Company.

"Well, you saw the search warrant," said Gallek.

"Well, as I have alluded to, we feel that we charge fair value," replied Cunningham.

RJ Martin has admitted that they were overbilling the school systems, but claims they're not going to do it again.

The company will now pay Cleveland Schools $160,000 dollars, Lakewood Schools $23,000 and prosecutors $100,000 to cover the cost of a three-year investigation. Plus, an extra $50,000 for other school costs.

"This case had a good result in a lot of ways tax dollars are being better protected and the money to the taxpayer in this case was completely refunded," said Asst. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Dan Kasaris.

An RJ Martin executive is going through a court program to wipe his record clean, but 19 Action News has been told he's been fired.

Maybe most important, we've learned the schools have now tightened up how they hire and oversee contractors with your money.

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