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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Armond Budish Lawyers Up as Various Investigations Swirl Around County Jail and Administration

Posted By on Tue, Jan 22, 2019 at 1:44 PM

click to enlarge Armond Budish speaks at Blockland. - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • Armond Budish speaks at Blockland.

Included in today's news from Cleveland.com that the U.S. Attorney's Office is reviewing the scathing report on conditions in the Cuyahoga County Jail prepared by the U.S. Marshals to assess whether any criminal or civil charges might be warranted is the tidbit that Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish has hired former U.S. Attorney and current BakerHostetler lawyer Steve Dettelbach to represent him.

Budish has not been publicly identified as the target of any investigation and has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but various investigations and reviews of the county jail are underway and the prosecutor's office investigation into public corruption is continuing, as prosecutor Mike O'Malley said in Friday's press release on last week's indictments.



Former jail boss Ken Mills is one of the three facing charges. He was indicted for lying twice — to county council about blocking the hiring of necessary nursing personnel at the jail, and to investigators about his interactions with an unnamed “high-level county official." He is also charged with other misdemeanors and felonies, including records tampering and telecommunications fraud.

Mills “abruptly resigned” from his post in November. While his lying to council on May 22 is one of the marquee criminal acts referenced in the indictment, county residents should be more disturbed by what he was lying about. That it was Mills who blocked the hiring of nurses is known. In fact it was revealed later in the May 22 council meeting that Mills was interfering, and that the likely reason for chronic vacancies on the nursing staff was low wages.

The question now is (or should be) whether Mills was blocking the hiring of medical personnel at the behest of someone else.

Budish has been on a crusade to cut costs at the jail for some time. His desire to do so, while also adding revenue from suburban jails, was pegged as the root cause of the jails horrific conditions by Courtney Astolfi and Adam Ferrise at Cleveland.com.

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