July 23, 2014

Elyria
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Lorain official cleared of harassment charges

LORAIN — Deputy Safety Service Director Joe Arendt has been cleared of allegations he sexually harassed a former female city worker.

An internal investigation by Michael Scherach, an attorney for the city, concluded that there was “insufficient evidence” to show that Arendt had sexually harassed the woman, said Andrew Winemiller, Lorain’s safety service director.

“Mr. Scherach did a full investigation,” Winemiller said. “As this matter concerns the city, this case is closed.”

The investigation — which centered on a May 31 incident — was launched this summer after the city was contacted by an attorney representing Nadine Pena, who was working as a temporary employee in the city’s Community Development Department.

Arendt remained on the job after the allegations were raised by Pena, who also works as a real estate agent. She refused to be interviewed by Sherach for his investigation through her attorney.

Arendt denied wrongdoing throughout the investigation and during his efforts to replace former Mayor Craig Foltin when Foltin left to become finance chief at Cuyahoga Community College. Lorain Republicans ultimately chose John Romoser to replace Foltin.

According to Scherach’s report, Rey Carrion, the construction administrator for community development, said he once saw Arendt make “certain eye contact and subtle gesture type conduct” toward Pena. But he concluded it was an isolated incident and did not create a hostile or abusive work environment.

Contact Shawn Foucher at 329-7197 or sfoucher@chroniclet.com.