New Name: Commissioners to name David Reines acting County Auditor - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

David Reines is in as acting Cuyahoga County Auditor

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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Embattled Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo has stepped down from his position amid a firestorm of controversy and corruption allegations.

Cuyahoga County Commissioners Peter Lawson Jones and Tim Hagan will appoint David R. Reines as acting County Auditor at a board meeting on Monday morning.

Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones said: "I had privilege of serving with Dave during my first three years as county commissioner. He's an all star-diligent, thoughtful, public-policy oriented and highly ethical. Our County is fortunate indeed that Dave is willing to undertake this critical assignment of righting the Auditor's Office and restoring public faith in the agency."

"I was approached by Commissioners Tim Hagan and Peter Lawson Jones, for whom I have the utmost respect," Mr. Reines said. "I told them I would be willing to help if I could. I realize it is a short-term job, and that there are also substantial challenges."

"He knows the county. He knows the people. He knows the policies. I think he's a good fit," Destin Ramsey.

The position of Cuyahoga County Auditor will be eliminated the first of the year in favor of an elected council and executive.

Frank Russo submitted his letter of resignation to County Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones Thursday morning.

"I humbly submit by resignation as Auditor of Cuyahoga County with deep heart felt gratitude for the opportunity to serve citizens of Cuyahoga County for the past 26 years.

I apologize to anyone I have harmed, for any decision I made that embarrassed or caused harm to my office."

"What occurred today (Thursday), Frank Russo's resignation is too little, too late," said Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones. "Should have occurred two years ago. As a matter of fact, obviously if the auditor had the integrity that's rightfully and reasonably expected of elected officials, he would not have committed the acts to which he will soon plead and if he had more honor, any honor, he would have resigned two years ago. It's time for Jimmy (Dimora) to resign as well, and I say that with no particular - with no glee whatsoever."

The announcement of Russo's resignation comes on the heels of a 21-count federal information. Russo faces charges of bribery, obstruction of justice and tax fraud. [Read the entire information HERE]

Prosecutors say Russo participated in numerous bribery schemes beginning in March of 1998 continuing through May of 2009. Specifically, it charges that Russo solicited and accepted things of value, such as cash, home improvements and travel to Las Vegas in exchange for county contracts, jobs, raises, reductions in tax valuations and other official favors.

The information also charges that Russo gave Joseph Gallucci a job and cash in exchange for running a sham campaign against him.

In addition, the information charges that Russo filed false tax returns for the years 2004-2008 and that he obstructed justice.

Jim Rokakis is a long-time Russo critic. 19 Action News showed him the new information and told him of the large number of people involved whether by name or number.

"I have no doubt before all this is over that we're talking about a number of people being indicted potentially in the triple digits," said County Treasurer James Rokakis.

Russo has been at the center of the ongoing FBI corruption probe since the summer of 2008, but has been steadfast in maintaining his innocence.

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