By MARK GILLISPIE; PLAIN DEALER REPORTER
May 7, 1999
The defense of former Summit County official
William H. Hartung Jr. began yesterday afternoon with an attempt
to saw off one leg of the government's bribery case against him.
During questioning from defense attorney
Lawrence Whitney, Ken Holland, business manager for Laborers Union
Local 894, said he never asked a local contractor to do free work
on Hartung's home, which contradicted testimony given Wednesday
by the contractor, Alexander R. Lockhart.
Hartung, who resigned in February 1998 as
County Executive Tim Davis' top aide, is accused of accepting
$17,000 worth of work from W.G. Lockhart Construction Co. on his
Shalersville Township home. Hartung also is accused of taking
bribes from a contractor who was providing job training and job
placement to welfare recipients.
Whitney made a special point of asking Holland
whether he attended a Kentucky Derby party that served as a Davis
fund raiser in 1997.
Holland told the U.S. District Court jury
that he was in Louisville, Ky., attending the actual Kentucky
Derby that year. Lockhart, however, testified Wednesday that Holland
asked him to do the favor at Davis' Kentucky Derby party in 1996,
the same year most of the free work allegedly was done at Hartung's
Hartung's indictment alleged that Lockhart
initially agreed to do the work so Hartung would agree to spend
$40,000 in county money to dredge a ditch that was causing basement
flooding in Franklin Township, where Lockhart was a trustee.
Summit County Councilman Michael Grimm also
testified for the defense yesterday. He said the only controversy
he could recall about an $800,000 contract awarded by council
to Michael T. Jelepis in 1997 was a concern that welfare funds
were being shifted from literacy programs to job placement.
Jelepis, 70, of Westlake, has already pleaded
guilty in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to bribery charges
for having allegedly passed money to Hartung via Ashtabula consultant
David DeLuca. DeLuca, 76, has also pleaded guilty in the case.
Both men have testified they were part of
a bribery scheme in which Hartung allegedly took money to iron
out problems Jelepis' companies were having with the county.
Under cross-examination by Assistant U.S.
Attorney Ann C. Rowland, Grimm testified that he asked Hartung
in 1997 about the rumors that Lockhart's company had done free
work at his home.
"I can't remember his exact words, but
I believe he said there was nothing to be concerned about,"
Hartung also is accused of filing false tax
returns for allegedly having failed to report the bribe money
and the value of the free work on his home.
Emanuel Janikis, deputy director of finance
for the Department of Human Services, testified that he asked
Hartung in 1997 whether he had receipts for the work W.G. Lockhart
Construction had done on the home.
Janikis testified that Hartung told him he
did not and that he had paid with cash that his wife had inherited.
Janikis prepared Hartung's income tax returns for 1996 and 1997.
Special Agent Jennifer Higgins of the Internal
Revenue Service testified that $35,000 of Hartung's wife's inheritance
money was used to purchase the couple's home lot in Shalersville
Township. The remainder, about $15,000 was deposited in Mary Beth
Hartung's savings account, Higgins testified.