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INDICTMENT Painting contractor faces bribery charges



Published: Tue, August 30, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



A detention hearing is set for Wednesday in Cleveland.

By PATRICIA MEADE

VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Painting contractor Anthony Katsourakis of Campbell has been charged with bribing an Ohio Department of Transportation bridge inspector with cash and a condo.

A federal grand jury in Cleveland indicted Katsourakis, 60, of Robinson Road, on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and filing fraudulent inspection reports with ODOT and two counts of bribery. His company, American Painting, is charged with conspiracy.

The indictment was unsealed after Katsourakis' arrest and obtained Monday by The Vindicator. He remains in custody pending a pretrial detention hearing Wednesday in Cleveland federal court.

Katsourakis is accused of giving an ODOT bridge inspector $24,000 in cash payments to permit shoddy work. The painting contractor's condominium in Clearwater, Fla., was used by the inspector as another form of bribery, the government said.

The projects

The federally funded bridge projects were on Interstate 90 on the west side of Cleveland. The time frame in the indictment is May through late 2001.

Richard H. Blake, an assistant U.S. attorney, said it will cost nearly three times the original amount of the contract to redo the work. The original ODOT contract was roughly $2.5 million.

When asked Monday if others would be charged, Blake's response was that the investigation continues.

In return for the bribes, the ODOT inspector allowed American Painting workers to paint in inclement and unacceptable weather conditions, the government said. The painting company also was allowed to omit, ignore and fail to perform certain necessary and contractually specified functions such as scraping, sanding, blasting and priming the bridge surfaces, the indictment states.

The ODOT inspector routinely falsified reports as to the quantity and quality of the work performed by American Painting so as to conceal the inferior services provided, the government said.

meade@vindy.com




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