Court documents unsealed Friday say state investigators were searching for information to show whether four allegations of misconduct at the Trumbull County Engineer’s Office had occurred.
Investigators from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations and Ohio Ethics Commission seized records relating to whether Engineer Randy Smith had a conflict of interest because of the $390,727 he earned from BP America, and whether employee Greg Alberini Sr., Smith’s road supervisor, improperly supervised his son Greg Alberini Jr.
An affidavit says Smith earned $390,727 in 2011 when he signed a lease with BP America, to allow BP to use land he owns in Hartford and Fowler townships for gas and oil drilling.
He disclosed the earnings in a filing with the Ohio Ethics Commission, but Ohio law says Smith must not participate in matters involving BP to avoid a conflict of interest.
Smith may have had a conflict of interest because of his participation in the writing of Trumbull County’s Road Use and Maintenance Agreements, which spell out the responsibilities BP had to prepare and repair roads used in its drilling activities, the affidavit says.
The agreements were overseen by Smith and his department.
Atty. Subodh Chandra of Cleveland, who represents Smith, said Smith “has always strived to be in strict compliance with both the letter and spirit of Ohio ethics laws and treasures his reputation.”
He added that once all of the facts are known, such as the legal advice sought regarding these matters, the investigators “will understand that there is no violation of the public trust here.”
Read more in Saturday's Vindicator