Monday, March 4, 2024

Metropolis of Toledo hires exterior lawyer to look into Summit Avenue probe


TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – The city of Toledo gets its own eyes to review the Summit Street rebuilding project that the The I-Team was the first to tell you it was under FBI control.

The I-Team has now learned that the city has hired a private law firm to also ask questions based on two sources.

We were also told that the FBI is still actively investigating the rebuilding project to be carried out by the time the Solheim Cup golf tournament begins on Labor Day weekend.

Now the documents received from 13abc begin to draw a picture of what is being examined.

If you’re doing a major rebuilding project on an older stretch of downtown street like Summit Street, everything can be found when you start digging. For example, one thing the crews expected was the gas, electricity, and telephone utilities.

Documents received from the 13abc I team appear to question the relocation of the Buckeye Broadband lines east and west on Summit Street.

In an email dated July 17, 2020, Toledo’s accountant asked Dale Emch, the city’s legal director, about Summit Street and a contract for approximately $ 705,000, on top of the $ million already planned for the project.

In May of this year, the council approved an additional $ 3 million, bringing the total to over $ 10 million.

The legal director replied that he made the legal decision that the city should pay the cost of moving the utilities for what Emch calls the aesthetic improvement of the summit. Emch continues: “This project was not carried out for urgent reasons for supply, transport or traffic reasons, but to a large extent to improve the appearance of the city center before the Solheim Cup 2021.”

A purchase requisition dated May 2020 says nothing about the aesthetics and names this project a reconstruction and replacement of the waterline, while paving, curb and gutter as well as the drive approaches and minor drainage improvements are removed and replaced

The June 2020 contract amendment order mentions the conflict between the Buckeye Broadband facilities and suggests that a subcontractor move the Buckeye facilities.

What does that cost the city? Part of the work was listed for $ 617,000.

According to the city law, owners of facilities that are in the public path must move at their own expense if this roadway needs to be repaired or improved. Code also says utility companies don’t have to move to improve aesthetics.

But sources tell 13abc that of all utility transfers for this project, the city only paid for Buckeye’s move.

That brings us back to exactly what the FBI is investigating and what exactly the city’s outside lawyers are investigating. That we are not told everything.

A city spokesman did not answer our questions about the external lawyers on Monday. He has told 13abc in the past that while we are proud of the work that is going on there, if there are any questions, we will of course cooperate fully with the relevant authorities.

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