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Director Ciaccia responds to alleged link to road-salt scam

From Executive Director Julius Ciaccia | Today, an article appeared in The Plain Dealer about allegations of bid-rigging in the salt industry that cost the State of Ohio and municipalities millions. Several radio stations already picked up the story, and I’m sure TV will as well.

If you read the story or heard it on the radio, you have found that my name has been associated with the allegations. Let me set out a few points about this story as it relates to me and the Sewer District. They are as follows:

  • The price-fixing allegations stem from a State Inspector General investigation.
  • In gathering information, the investigators asked a trucking contractor through a subpoena for information about public officials he entertained over a specified period of time. The contractor was Frank Bianchi of Granger Trucking.
Frank Bianchi, through his attorney, sent a letter to the investigators listing public officials he claimed to have entertained.
  • The list includes a section titled “Lunch – All Lunches less that (sic) $50″ and includes me—as Director of NEORSD—at Delmonico’s in May of 2007.
  • I did not start with the District until November 1, 2007.
  • As I told the reporter who called me, I do not recall ever having a meal with this individual.
  • Deputy Executive Director Mike Bucci and I did in fact meet with Frank Bianchi at Delmonico’s on June 2, 2008 after work to discuss the involvement of his firm in our MBE/WBE program.
  • Neither Mike nor I had dinner, but I did use my credit card to pay for drinks that we had. I have the receipt that was cashed out at 7:07 p.m. on that day.
  • Most importantly, I have nothing to do with the salt industry. Never have.

I want to be sure our customers have the full story. Now, other forms of media including blogs are picking up on the report, and before you know it, “a lunch that never happened” helps to sell a story that should sell itself. Customers can be assured that I have no connection to these allegations.

Julius Ciaccia
Executive Director
Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District