June 25, 2013
LIMA — At its first board meeting after the sentencing of a former employee on criminal charges, the Allen Metropolitan Housing Authority board members fired back Tuesday.
The board is asking the Citizens Review Committee to hear its grievance against the Lima Police Department and others who pushed a criminal investigation against members of the agency.
Board members asked in its complaint to the committee two primary questions. One is how an anonymous allegation of documents being shredded resulted in a police raid “carried out by disheveled-looking, non-uniform officers threatening to kick the door in and then the handcuffing of its receptionists who was not violent nor a flight risk?”
They also asked why authorities were not willing to work with agency officials to resolve issues.
After the meeting, board member Paige Townsend handed out a letter she gave to the review committee.
“We are asking that the facts be disseminated. That people are aware of how the housing authority did business and how many of the policies and procedures were circumvented here and this all raised to a level of unprecedented prosecution,” Townsend said.
Townsend said she does not want to create a battle between the Lima Police Department and the housing authority. She is hoping the review committee carefully looks into the matter and reaches a fair decision in what she said is its first case since it was formed.
She acknowledged some people in the community have a bad perception of the agency.
In their complaint to the review board, AMHA board members spell out recent history that began in 2011 when the Ohio Ethics Commission began requesting documents from the agency over Bruce Monford, a housing inspector with the agency and the brother of board chairman B. Lamont Monford.
Bruce Monford was sentenced to three years probation and fined $1,000 for two counts of tampering with records and two counts of theft in office. Monford was clocked in and conducting personal business while on agency time including meeting up with a woman for what a prosecutor called “a physical relationship.”
The complaint to the review committee said the agency fully cooperated with the Ethics Commission. The complaint also said the agency was the subject of an investigation by the Inspector General’s Office of Housing and Urban Development with no wrongdoing found.
The board said it has looked out for the fiscal well-being and daily operation of the agency, and was not supportive of any of Bruce Monford’s criminal conduct.
The board also explained in the complaint the agency’s executive director, Anna Schnippel, and a receptionist, were criminally charged as a result of the police raid on March 27, 2012. Schnippel was acquitted at trial and all charges were dropped against the receptionist.
They also said in the complaint there was no mention of shredded records after the raid, which was the reason behind the raid that began with the anonymous complaint.