Bookmark this page on your mobile

QR Code image

What is this?

Daily Court Reporter - News Cuyahoga County Land Bank employee indicted for soliciting and accepting improvements to his property in Cleveland Heights in return for assisting a demolition company get contracts


Cuyahoga County Land Bank employee indicted for soliciting and accepting improvements to his property in Cleveland Heights in return for assisting a demolition company get contracts

A Cuyahoga County Land Bank employee was indicted for soliciting and accepting improvements to his property in Cleveland Heights in return for assisting a demolition company get contracts.

Kenneth Tyson, 48, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and honest services fraud, three counts of honest services wire fraud and one count of bribery.

Tyson worked as property specialist for the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corp., also known as the Cuyahoga County Land Bank. Tyson served as a liaison with East Cleveland on land acquisition, demolition and other projects, according to the indictment.

He vetted prospective demolition contractors seeking to be placed on the Land Bank’s list of qualified contractors and exercised influence over who could compete for Land Bank contracts, according to the indictment.

Residential Commercial Industrial (RCI) Services was a demolition company whose principal place of business was East Cleveland. It was operated by someone identified in the indictment as M.R. A person identified as M.S. served as chief of staff in the city of East Cleveland

Tyson conspired with M.R. and M.S. between 2013 and 2018. Tyson solicited M.R. to provide free contractor and repair services to Tyson’s property at 1210 Castleton Road in Cleveland Heights. In exchange, Tyson assisted and arranged for RCI to be put on the Land Bank’s qualified demolition contractor list and for RCI to be invited to bid on Land Bank demolition jobs, according to the indictment.

In October 2013, M.R. was billed approximately $2,565 for plumbing work done at Tyson’s property. That same month, M.R. paid someone approximately $1,000 to cut down a tree on the property, according to the indictment.

An East Cleveland employee, at the direction of M.S., sent documents and pictures to the Land Bank confirming RCI had previously completed demolition work in East Cleveland. Tyson and others conducted a site visit to RCI on Elderwood Road in East Cleveland, according to the indictment.

RCI was added to the Land Bank’s system as a demolition contractor on Nov. 21, 2013, allowing it to bid on Land Bank contracts. Five days later, the Land Bank invited RCI to bid on jobs at three sets of properties. RCI submitted the lowest bids on those jobs and was awarded the contracts, according to the indictment.

The Land Bank sent RCI three checks between January and March 2014, paying approximately $32,355 for the work, according to the indictment.

Around July 2014, RCI paid approximately $3,200 for concrete work done at Tyson’s property, according to the indictment.

“This defendant used his position to enrich himself with free home repairs when he was supposed to be helping rid our community of blight,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. “We remain committed to stamping out public corruption in all its forms.”

“The charges disclosed today prove our continuing resolve to root out fraud and corruption in all forms, especially when the programs involved should have been used to help our neediest families,” said HUD-OIG Special Agent in Charge Brad Geary. “It is our continuing core mission to work with our Federal law enforcement partners and the United States Attorney’s Office to protect the integrity of our housing programs and to take strong action against those who seek to personally benefit from taxpayer-funded grants.”

"Competition in federal blight demolition programs is critical to protecting taxpayers, with no room for contract awards involving bribery, as is alleged against this land bank official,” said Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program Christy Goldsmith Romero. “Cuyahoga County Land Bank has taken nearly $60 million from TARP’s Blight Elimination Program to demolish homes and improve local communities. It is critical that these taxpayer funds be used appropriately and for their intended purpose. I thank U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman and his team of prosecutors for standing with SIGTARP in the fight against blight-related crime.”

“Our tax-paying citizens are entitled to decisions based on the best interests of the public, not the best interests of corrupt public officials and bribe-paying contractors,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony said. “The FBI will continue to hold those that violate the public trust accountable in a court of law.”

This case was investigated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General, The Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carmen E. Henderson and Chelsea S. Rice.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant's role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

A charge is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

About the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Ohio

The Department of Justice is the nation's litigator, serving but one client, the United States. The United States Attorneys serve as the Department's principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. There are 93 United States Attorneys stationed in judicial districts throughout the United States and its territories. United States Attorneys are appointed by, and serve at the discretion of the President of the United States, with advice and consent of the United States Senate. Each United States Attorney is the Chief Federal Law Enforcement Officer of the United States within his or her particular jurisdiction.

United States Attorneys conduct most of the trial work in which the United States is a party. The United States Attorneys have three statutory responsibilities under Title 28, Section 507 of the United States Code:

the prosecution of criminal cases brought by the Federal Government;

the prosecution and defense of civil cases in which the United States is a party; and

the collection of debt owed to the Federal Government.

Although the caseload varies among districts, each has every category of cases and handles a mixture of simple and complex litigation. Each United States Attorney exercises wide discretion in the use of his or her resources to further the priorities of the local jurisdictions and needs of their communities.

The Northern District of Ohio consists of the 40 northern counties in Ohio. The U.S. Attorney's office (USAO) for the district is located in Cleveland, Ohio and there are staffed branch offices in Toledo, Akron and Youngstown. The office is divided into organizational units with specific responsibility for carrying out the mission of the office.

Date Published: December 19, 2018


The United States Attorneys Office Northern District of Ohio


American priest from Ohio charged with sexually abusing Filipino boys

An American priest from Cincinnati has been charged by a federal criminal complaint for allegedly sexually abusing minor boys.

Grange unveils home cyber protection product

With a greater number of smart devices comes a greater risk of cybercrime.

New legislative report on education, poverty offers recommendations

A legislative task force charged with taking a deep look at poverty's impact on the education of Ohio's children and any resultant achievement gap between rich and poor students has wrapped up its work and filed a report.

House passes bill exempting service dogs of Ohio veterans from some fees

Pet lovers and armchair political commentators alike confirmed the soft spot Americans have for their canine companions upon observing the late-President George H.W. Bush's service dog lying alongside his flag-draped coffin.

Ohio law permits adult adoptions

Adopting an adult in Ohio

Two Toledo-area residents arrested and charged for preparing separate, unrelated terrorism attacks

A Toledo woman was arrested and charged in federal court after she purchased black powder and screws that she believed were going to be used to make a bomb as part of a terrorist attack.

Victims of attorney theft awarded money from lawyers' fund

The Board of Commissioners of the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection has awarded $240,000 to 16 victims of attorney theft. Eight former or suspended Ohio attorneys were found to have misappropriated client funds. One attorney, since deceased, also was involved in the claims presented to the Board of Commissioners.

ABA releases new standards for care and representation of unaccompanied child immigrants

The American Bar Association Commission on Immigration has released a new set of standards for the detention, care and legal representation of unaccompanied child immigrants. It is an indispensable guide for immigration authorities, lawyers and advocates.

Attorney General DeWine announces multistate consumer protection settlement with one of largest debt buyers

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine recently announced a multistate consumer protection settlement with one of the nation’s largest debt buyers – Encore Capital Group and its subsidiaries Midland Funding and Midland Credit Management – to require the company to reform its debt buying and collection practices.

California lawyer fined for unauthorized practice of law in Ohio

The Ohio Supreme Court recently fined a California lawyer and his firm $2,000 for representing an Ohioan in a debt collection case in the state without having a license to practice law in Ohio.

Ohio man convicted of trying to join ISIS

A federal judge has convicted a Jordanian national residing in Dayton of attempting and conspiring to join ISIS, a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Ohio recognized as leader in electric grid modernization

Ohio was recently recognized with an "Outstanding Progress Award" by the GridWise Alliance for its accomplishments in rapidly expanding grid modernization efforts. GridWise cited the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO)’s PowerForward Roadmap as the major factor for Ohio’s improved ranking in this year’s Gridwise Modernization Index (GMI).

Ohio’s Superintendent recognizes next round of Purple Star schools

In celebrations today at Eastwood High School (Wood County) and Whitehouse Primary School (Lucas County), State Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria announced that 57 Ohio schools received the Purple Star designation for their commitment to serving military-connected students and their families.

Man sentenced to 17 years for sex trafficking women by exploiting their opioid addictions

Rashad Sabree, 37, of Boston, Massachusetts, was sentenced recently in federal court in the District of Maine to 17 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution after previously pleading guilty to two count of sex trafficking. In sentencing the defendant, U.S. District Court Judge John D. Levy highlighted the degree of cruelty that the defendant’s crimes involved and its impact on the victims. The sentence was announced by Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Halsey B. Frank of the District of Maine, Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Boston, and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Boston Division.

Drug-trafficking nurse practitioner, other work comp cheats convicted recently

Eight Ohioans convicted on workers’ compensation fraud or related charges in November include a Springfield nurse practitioner who pleaded guilty to felony drug trafficking and a Cleveland-area man who collected $245,000 in disability benefits while working construction jobs since 2009.

Evans Landscaping officials convicted of defrauding city, state 'small business' programs

A jury has convicted Evans Landscaping, Inc. and company executives on all counts charged in a fraud case.

Nursing home barred from seeking outstanding bill payment from surviving spouse

A creditor must seek payment of unpaid bills from a deceased spouse’s estate before attempting to collect payment from the surviving spouse, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled recently.

Ohio woman sentenced for committing tax fraud

Tawnya Writesel, also known as Tawnya Rutan, 40, of Columbus, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 12 months and one day in prison and was ordered to pay more than $108,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for conspiring to submit false claims for income tax refunds with the IRS.

Ohio Attorney General's Office now accepting National Missing Children's Day Poster Contest entries

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is urging Ohio fifth graders and their teachers to take part in the 2019 National Missing Children's Day Poster Contest.

Trees to Textbooks invests in local schools, communities

Sixteen rural Ohio school districts and their corresponding counties and townships will share more than $2.3 million from the sale of timber from Ohio’s state forests, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).