September 16, 2014

Elyria
Mostly cloudy
66°F
test

Loans legal, but concerns persist about flood program

LORAIN — A police investigation found that nothing illegal occurred with two loans issued as a part of the city’s program to aid flood victims, but that doesn’t alleviate concerns from city officials that the program might be flawed.

Lorain police Sgt. Mark Carpentiere said allegations surfaced last week that resident Don Buchs, who received two loans for his properties along Old Lake Road, should only have received one loan because one of the properties wasn’t damaged in a sewer collapse that occurred last November.

The zero percent interest loan program was created by Council after heavy rains led to the sewer line collapse on Old Lake Road, causing damage to more than 40 homes.

Carpentiere, however, said that the four ordinances that created the loan program don’t specify that only homes damaged in that incident should receive assistance.

“Everything he did was well documented, and he told them what he wanted the money for,” Carpentiere said. “He wasn’t keeping anything hidden.”

Lorain Law Director Mark Provenza, Safety Service Director Mike Kobylka and a member of the Community Development Department, which started the program, will now conduct their own investigation into the program, Provenza said.

The group will be looking at whether money was actually used to repair homes and whether everybody who received loans was, in fact, eligible. Provenza said that even if the ordinances don’t specify that loan monies would only go to people whose homes were damaged during the sewer collapse, that was Council’s intent when the ordinance was passed.

“Now we’re wondering if there was a problem with how the loans were administered, because the administration and Council agreed that the loans were for residents who were affected by the collapse,” Provenza said.

Contact Adam Wright at 653-6257 or awright@chroniclet.com.