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WARREN Cops ask FBI to aid probe of city water department



Published: Sat, June 9, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The FBI was asked to investigate because there is a possibility that federal funds could be involved.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

and AMANDA C. DAVIS

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- The FBI is assisting city police with a probe of the water department.

Capt. Tim Roberts and Detective Jeff Hoolihan said Friday the federal agency was contacted last month after officials learned the results of a special state audit.

Police said they received a draft copy of the audit last month. It has not been publicly released yet, and officials declined to discuss details of the audit.

Employee suspended: A water department employee has already been disciplined as a result of the findings.

Office manager Richard Griffing began 30 days off without pay Friday. The suspension runs through July 9.

A letter in his personnel file from safety-service director Fred Harris says Griffing was found guilty this week of gross neglect of duty, dishonesty and nonfeasance regarding $26,036 missing from department accounts.

Roberts said that figure could change as the investigation unfolds.

Mayor Hank Angelo said the special audit was requested last year after officials discovered in April 2000 that money was missing.

Though the audit covers only April 2000, police say, their investigation will delve into records from other months.

Possible federal funds: "The FBI was asked to assist because there is a possibility that federal funds could be involved," Roberts said.

"The city does receive some federal funding and we have to determine if some of the missing money may be from the federal government."

Hoolihan and an agent from the FBI's Youngstown office will soon start interviewing people regarding the audit.

"This is not going to be a quick investigation," Roberts said. "It's going to take at least a few months. There is a lot of financial information we have to review."

sinkovich@vindy.com/davis@vindy.com




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