April 25, 2012
LIMA ‚?? The notice of a state award to the Allen Metropolitan Housing Authority was followed up with a ‚??never mind‚?Ě after a March police raid on their offices.On April 9, Met Housing learned it received a clean audit from Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost and that, for the second year in a row, it earned the Auditor of State Award. The award recognized Executive Director Anna Schnippel‚??s leadership and the excellent recordkeeping of the agency‚??s finance staff.Just four days later, the agency received a second message from the state auditor‚??s office, saying the previous announcement had been made in error, and it wasn‚??t receiving the award.Schnippel said she was told the state took back the award because of that March 27 raid and the subsequent investigation by the Ohio Ethics Commission.‚??They said they had to rescind it because of the OEC investigation,‚?Ě Schnippel said.The award is presented to local governments and school districts upon the completion of a ‚??clean‚?Ě financial audit, according to a release from the state auditor‚??s office. A spokeswoman from the state office said those awards are released along with the recipient‚??s annual audit, but release of the Housing Authority‚??s audit was held up because of the investigation.‚??That audit wasn‚??t released due to their pending ethics investigation, so the award was withdrawn,‚?Ě said Brittany Elking, public information officer for the state auditor‚??s office.Police raided the South Main Street offices of the Housing Authority on March 27, reportedly serving a search warrant on behalf of the Ohio Ethics Commission and acting on a tip that potentially incriminating documents were being destroyed.Police confiscated documents and desktop computers from the administrative building.Authorities here and in Columbus have yet to explain the circumstances behind the raid. Schnippel said she has not received further details about the Ethics Commission investigation. Commission spokeswoman Susan Willeke said the commission does not comment on any ongoing investigation. You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.