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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Joe Deters' Nemesis In Cleveland Facing DUI Scandal: Bill Mason Drove Deters From Statewide Office

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Upstate bloggers are having a field day over the current tribulations of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason. Mason was riding in a car with a fellow officeholder who got picked up for drunk driving. Mason contends he didn't notice his pal was intoxicated. Hamilton County Prosecutor Deters, who served as state treasurer until Mason drove him from that office with a corruption probe, ought to be buckled up with laughter. His nemesis now looks like an imbecile. After all, prosecutors are supposed to see that drunk drivers go to jail. They aren't suppose to hitch rides with them.

For those who don't recall, Cuyahoga County's Mason, a Democrat, went after Deters and ended the Hamilton County Republican's dream of becoming Ohio attorney general. There were issues about pay to play and dealings with Lehman Bros., the Wall Street investment bank that collapsed in 2008. Here are a few excerpts from an archived Cincinnati Enquirer story about the 2004 scandal :

"COLUMBUS - State Treasurer Joe Deters insists that nothing is going to stop him from becoming Ohio attorney general in 2006.
But a public corruption probe linked to his office threatens to derail the political ambitions . . . The source of Deters' trouble is his relationship with Frank Gruttadauria, a former Cleveland stockbroker serving prison time for swindling investors around the country out of $125 million over 15 years.
Gruttadauria was introduced to Deters in 1999, shortly after Deters became state treasurer. Gruttadauria was trying to help his employer land the lucrative job of managing some of the state's $150 billion investment portfolio. He succeeded.
From 1999 to 2001, Gruttadauria's two employers, SG Cowen Corp. and Lehman Brothers Inc., did a combined $5.9 billion in investment trades with Deters' office.
Gruttadauria also worked to develop a relationship with Deters, giving him rides on his Lear jet and donating thousands of dollars to Deters' campaign as well as to the Hamilton County Republican Party, which Deters chaired in 2000 and 2001.
But the case didn't end there. It caught the attention of William Mason, the Democratic prosecutor in Cleveland, who launched his own investigation.
In March, Gruttadauria, 46, pleaded guilty to bribing an unnamed person from 1999 to 2002 to get state investment business, racketeering, theft, money laundering, forgery and election law violations.
He also admitted to making a $50,000 donation to Deters' campaign that he masked as a contribution to the Hamilton County Republican Party. And he admitted to making illegal campaign donations to Deters by funneling $7,000 through clients and employees to Deters' campaign."

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