In January 10, 2010, state officials called off a Highway Patrol operation to intercept an expected drop of contraband tobacco at the Ohio Governor’s Residence in Bexley in suburban Columbus. Officials say the contraband was headed to Pickaway Correctional Institution as part of a smuggling operation run through inmates assigned to work on the mansion’s grounds. A last-minute decision was made to call off the sting and political pressure and improper influence were alleged. Here’s a look at key individuals involved in the scandal:
CATHY COLLINS-TAYLOR: Acting state public safety director. Found to have cancelled the sting operation to avoid political embarrassment to the governor. Resigned under pressure in May 2010 after a high-profile Senate confirmation hearing made clear her confirmation would be rejected.
JOSEPH MANNION: Governor’s security chief. Cited by the state watchdog for lax oversight and “alarming lack of knowledge and concern” regarding security breaches tied to the inmate program at the Residence. Formally reprimanded on Dec. 3, 2010, and transferred two weeks later to District 10 investigations in Cleveland. He moved to the patrol post in Hiram before retiring in July 2014.
DAVID DICKEN: Superintendent of Ohio State Highway Patrol. Both he and Collins-Taylor initially said it was Dicken who made the call to abort the sting, but investigators found that wasn’t the case. Second successive superintendent under Strickland who was forced to resign. Took a “voluntary demotion” to captain of business services on Dec. 17, 2010. He most recently worked as commander of the state crime lab, retiring May 27.
JOHN HASELEY: Chief of staff to Strickland. Participated in “high-level discussions” before the sting operation was called off with Collins-Taylor and her chief of staff, along with Mannion and chief legal counsel Kent Markus. Haseley and his 8-year-old daughter were guests at the Residence that evening. Investigators found Haseley neither called off nor pressured Collins-Taylor to call off the sting.
KENT MARKUS: Chief legal counsel to Strickland. Participant in the “high-level discussions.” Investigators found he and Haseley did not interfere in the sting decision.
JOHN AND ANNIE GLENN: Guests at the Residence the evening of the planned sting. Knowledge that the former astronaut and his wife were dining with the Stricklands that evening contributed to safety concerns and worries over the political ramifications if it were botched. John and Annie Glenn are now 95 and 96, respectively.
JOSHUA ENGEL: Chief legal counsel to Collins-Taylor. Demoted in May 2010 over allegations he sought to set up then Inspector General Tom Charles for possible criminal charges. Fired on Sept. 29, 2010, after caught intercepting department communications from inspector general’s office and The Columbus Dispatch. Convicted in October 2010 of three misdemeanor counts of disclosing confidential information and sentenced to suspended jail time of 30 days on each count. Received six-month law license suspension in May 2012.
INMATE WORK PROGRAM AT RESIDENCE: Sting investigation determined the program had “veered badly off-course,” citing two dozen incidents of contraband, discoveries of small alcohol stashes, theft and other misconduct from 2007 to 2010, while the Stricklands lived there. Strickland suspended the program on May 28, 2010, after another breach by participating inmates. The program was never resumed.
SOURCE: AP Research