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County workers testify at grand jury hearing



Published: Fri, February 21, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



The grand jury was set to continue hearing testimony today.

By PEGGY SINKOVICHand STEPHEN SIFF

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- A grand jury hearing information about Trumbull County's purchasing practices listened Thursday to testimony from eight county employees.

The employees, who were from the commissioners' office, auditor's office, vehicle maintenance and the sheriff's department, testified throughout the day.

The grand jury was scheduled to continue hearing testimony today.

Not public

Because grand jury proceedings are not open to the public, it is not known who was to testify.

Chris Becker and Diane Barber, the assistant county prosecutors handling the matter, declined to comment.

It is not known if any indictments will be issued.

Adrian Biviano, chief deputy auditor, and James Keating, the county's human resources director, were the first to testify Thursday.

Biviano said he was asked to explain the role of the auditor's office. Keating was asked to explain job descriptions of Anthony Delmont, maintenance director, and Anthony Carson, purchasing director.

Carson was seen walking into the grand jury room, then leaving the room. Neither he nor his attorney, James Fredericka, would comment.

Also asked

The custodian and the cook for the jail and a sheriff's department employee who handles purchase orders were also asked to testify.

This grand jury has been hearing evidence about county purchasing practices since the end of last year.

An investigation by the county prosecutor, prompted by a series of Vindicator articles, found excessive spending on cleaning supplies and a bookkeeping system that did not ensure that items paid for ever actually arrived.

Sheriff Thomas Altiere and Prosecutor Dennis Watkins also asked the state Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation in September to investigate questionable purchasing by county workers.

That investigation continues.

As a result of his early findings, Watkins asked county commissioners to stop doing business with a handful of companies that did not have street addresses and were slow to produce business records.

The state auditor's office and the FBI also have joined the probe.

sinkovich@vindy.comsiff@vindy.com




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