November 27, 2014

Mostly cloudy

Lab boss’s attorney presents paper showing device contract OK’d

ELYRIA — The Lorain County commissioners approved a contract for drug-testing equipment and supplies in 2010 that has come under scrutiny as the court system prepares to close the county’s Forensics Laboratory.

de Leon

de Leon

The documents, provided by the attorney representing Emmanuel de Leon, the director of the Forensic Lab and the county’s Crime Lab, show that the contract was forwarded to commissioners for their consideration on June 4, 2010, and approved during a June 23, 2010, meeting.

“(The) implication that Mr. de Leon purchased this machine without authority is false,” de Leon’s attorney, Jonathan Rosenbaum, wrote in an email Friday.

General Division Court Administrator Tim Lubbe has raised questions about the contract with Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics Inc. for a V-Twin Analyzer, including whether it received a proper legal review and that it wasn’t approved by his office.

The contract was sent to the commissioners by the county’s former Chief Probation Officer Bart Hobart, who resigned from the job in June 2012.

The Lorain County Adult Probation Department is overseen by Lubbe and the county’s General Division judges.

In his 2010 letter to the commissioners, Hobart wrote that the machine is use at the time was being phased out and had been growing more expensive in recent years.

“We’ve been in a process and have evaluated a more cost-effective analyzer that will benefit the overall operation of the laboratory, court system and the department,” Hobart wrote.

Lubbe did not respond to messages Friday evening seeking comment on the commissioners’ approval of the purchase.

The contract being reviewed by Lubbe was signed by de Leon and is dated June 21, 2010, while the copy provided by Rosenbaum was signed by Commissioner Ted Kalo on June 23, 2010. The two contracts appear virtually identical, although each refers to different Siemens’ quote numbers.

County Administrator Jim Cordes said although he didn’t recall the correspondence from four years ago, he wasn’t surprised to learn that Hobart had forwarded it on for approval. He said the Probation Department sends items over for approval over from time to time.

Assistant County Prosecutor Gerald Innes has said there are several aspects of the contract, including that it is subject to Illinois law, which lead him to believe no legal review was done before the contract was approved. Some of those issues could void the contract, Innes has said.

The county has spent $202,797.18 so far on the five-year contract with Seimens, although Lubbe wrote in an email to Cordes last week that the company had told the Probation Department there was still a balance of $139,000 on the contract and that the account was “in default.”

Lubbe has said he is still reviewing the contract and its financial implications as the judges shut down the Forensics Lab, where probationers are subjected to drug tests.

The decision to close the Forensics Lab, which was operated in the same space and with much the same staff as the county’s Crime Lab, was made public last week and Lubbe and Administrative Judge James Burge have described the move as a financial one.

In the meantime, county commissioners are working to figure out how they will be able to keep the Crime Lab, which handles fingerprint and drug analysis in criminal investigations, without the financial support of the Probation Department. The commissioners voted this week to put a property tax levy on the May ballot to better fund the Crime Lab.

Cordes had asked the commissioners last week to consider keeping on de Leon, the only person in county government with the qualifications to certify the labs results, for a month after the Forensics Lab closes, but the commissioners tabled the idea. De Leon has been on paid leave since Nov. 21, but has continued to work certifying lab results.

Cordes said he is looking into alternatives, including the possibility of outsourcing some of the Crime Lab’s work, in case de Leon ends up leaving the county payroll when the Forensics Lab closes Jan. 31.

Kalo said the Crime Lab remains vital to effective law enforcement in Lorain County.

“I don’t want to close the Crime Lab,” he said. “It has to stay usable and operational.”

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or

  • Larry Crnobrnja

    Who’s on first, What’s on second.

  • formerlorainresident

    Hmmmmm……does seem somebody was “sleeping at the switch.” See below:

    Worse thing is the county is now on default on their contract to Siemens.

    Probably can’t even buy the reagents, etc. to run the machine from Siemens anymore. I know, if I were them I wouldn’t supply them with anything until they pay up!

    “In the matter approving & entering into an agreement with Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics Inc., in amount of $93,141.96 for V-Twin Analyzer for forensic lab,
    effective 5 years ”

    June 23, 2010

    BE IT RESOLVED, by the Lorain County Board of Commissioners that we hereby approve & enter into an agreement with Siemens

    Healthcare Diagnostics Inc., in amount of $93,141.96 for V-Twin Analyzer for forensic lab.

    Said agreement is considered a part hereof to this resolution by reference thereto and can be found on file in the Commissioners/Purchasing and Adult Probation/Crime Lab, effective for 5 years and contains a 60 day cancellation clause to be paid from Acct#county probation services and intensive probation supervision.

    Motion by Kalo, seconded by Kokoski to adopt Resolution. Ayes: Kalo & Kokoski / Absent: Blair had an appointment.

    Motion carried. ____________________

  • Level headed

    I’m thinking the reporter is sleeping at the switch. Writing a story accusing misconduct before checking public record seems irresponsible. Kalo signed off on the purchase.

  • oldruss

    The article above stated: “The contract being reviewed by Lubbe was signed by de Leon and is dated June 21, 2010, while the copy provided by Rosenbaum was signed by Commissioner Ted Kalo on June 23, 2010. The two contracts appear virtually identical, although each refers to different Siemens’ quote numbers.”

    “Virtually identical” is not identical. And, to add insult to injury, what is different between the contract signed by de Leon and the contract approved by the two Democrat commissioners is, wait for it, “Siemens’ quote numbers”. Those “quote numbers” are the price the county’s taxpayers are going to pay to Siemens.

    Another discrepancy, which may easily be explained, although it is not addressed at all in the article, is that the county has already paid Siemens $202,797.18, and yet according to the comment by formerlorainresident above, quoting the county commissioners’ resolution, the contract that was approved by Kalo and Kokowski was for $93,141.96. That’s some difference!

    • JustTheFacts

      From reading the article and reading the minutes available online, I would assume that the price for the piece of equipment was $93,141.96 and they also entered into a 5 year contract to provide goods or services. This would explain the discrepancy. For example, if I entered into a contract for a copier with a business supply chain for $25,000 and entered into an agreement with them for supplies (paper, toner, etc) and maintenance, the total cost over the 5 years that I paid would be over the $25,000 in total. I do agree with many of the posters here however, that all the facts are not yet in and I will reserve judgment until I have all the facts.

      • oldruss

        Whatever “explanation” you want to spin, the total costs should still have been spelled out in the Resolution of June 23, 2010.

  • Level headed

    I agree oldruss. I think the bottom line here is that Kalo was with out question in the loop on this tax money being spent. The story is spinning the fact that the Commissioners had no idea this money was being spent.

  • Level headed

    Keep digging Brad Dicken and I think you are going to get the true story here. Maybe talk to some of the Courthouse employees about Cwalina and Lubbe. deleon has yet to be charged with anything and he has Jonathan Rosenbaum as his attorney. Rosenbaum usually won’t take a client or case he can’t reap proceeds from.

  • John Davidson

    Could be that the contact is for $93,141.96 per year for 5 years. That group of commissioners just signed contracts. That’s the way the county was run then as still is now.

    • oldruss

      IF the contract was for five payments of $93,141.96 each, that would total $465,709.80. THAT number appears nowhere in the “Resolution” nor in the article. In any case, if the Commissioners were approving the expenditure of some $405,700.00 tax dollars, and not the considerably smaller amount of some $93,141.96, the “Resolution” and the purported contract both should have clearly spelled that out.

  • Bill

    Checks and balances. Here is a prime example of what happens when you have the 3 people of the same party affiliation in office.
    Nothing like this has happened since Mr. Williams has been in office and has been instrumental in keeping dumb and dumber from trying to slide things under the radar.

    • JustTheFacts

      So the fact that this activity has “per the article” taken place since June 2010, and Mr. Williams took office January 2011, there is no culpability on his part for the last 3 years because why? What exactly was slid under the radar here? Checks and balances… What are you rambling on about?

  • Zen Grouch

    The original story regarding the contract with Seimens clearly stated that the contract was still being reviewed…

    But that didn’t stop the howls from the peanut gallery, now did it.

    Yeah… y’all know who you are…

    …and I’m -not- talking about the reporter.

    • Level headed

      Lab director’s $341,000 equipment deal apparently escaped review by county officials ! The headline said it escaped review not that it was being reviewed, y’all!

      • Zen Grouch

        When someone tosses the words “seemingly” and “apparently” into the mix the meaning behind the communication is drastically changed.

        “Apparently” you missed this when you just stated:

        “The headline said it escaped review not that it was being reviewed, y’all!”

        That’s NOT at all what the headline said, and if you’ll take another look you might notice the word “apparently.”

        So, in the article nobody made a definitive statement regarding there being no proper approval of the contract.

        If anything, the article showed that an investigation into any wrongdoing involving the contract, was ongoing:

        “Lubbe said Thursday that he and his staff are still reviewing the contract…”

        • Level headed

          Apparently you didn’t notice I copied and pasted the headline as it was written. It was implied by using the word “apparently” that he did not have their permission. It now appears that he did y’all! If it helps you understand, Websters lists apparently as ( plainly, obviously) such as obviously he didn’t have permission when in fact he did.

          • Zen Grouch

            That cleared things up, all right!

          • Level headed

            Did you look up y’all?

          • Zen Grouch

            Sorry Bubba…

            You were having trouble with the English language, and I tried to help.

            Since it’s obvious you aren’t ready for my take on it, I thought I’d thought I’d bring “Websters” into it once again.

            **Let go… and walk towards the light…**

          • Level headed

            The English language doesn’t have the word y’all so I doubt you can help me or any one else with it….

          • jz

            Kitchen counselor here. You are the one using the word “apparently” wrong. Zen is correct.

          • Zen Grouch

            Actually if you go back to your copy of “Websters” you might find it…

            Well, “y’all” is there anyway, so I guess it’s a toss up as to whether or not you can actually can find it.

            And for someone who’s picky enough to call me out on the usage of a word you might ask yourself why I put quote marks around “Websters” and where I first saw that word.

            You might then ask yourself why you can’t find this word in Webster’s.

          • Level headed

            Great, now you got your mom involved!! “Apparently” you, jz (junior zen?), and I will have to agree to disagree on this one….

          • Zen Grouch

            Did you come by the name “Level headed” ‘cuz your skull is flat enough to accommodate a cold beer and an ashtray?

          • Bill

            A giant bong, perhaps?

          • Zen Grouch

            It would be like, *POOF!* and there he is on your door step with a bong on his head…

            …one of those deals you make with the devil that may literally be what you asked for, but is horribly wrong.

            **…assume NOTHING when you make a deal with Beelzebub or you’ll end up with -Level headed- in fishnet stockings, wanting to suck your bong.**

          • Zen Grouch

            **I can put a hat on…**

            Well GOOD FOR YOU!

            With a lot of practice, maybe in 5 or 6 years, you’ll be tying your own shoes too!

          • Level headed

            Did your old lady snap that photo of you on the john? You look like you’re bearing down… oh wait I’ll bet you were thinking!! Such a biggie boy!!!

          • Zen Grouch

            I took it myself, as I was enjoying a cold beer and a cigarette off the top of your mom’s head.

            **I like my beer with a foamy head**

          • Level headed

            Nah, my mom has standards she wouldn’t hang with a loser like you….

          • Zen Grouch

            What can I say…

            We caught her when she was feeling… umm… particularity charitable.

          • Zen Grouch

            **I can’t imagine more than…**

            That’s the problem when you smack your baby with a 2 by 4 to flatten out it’s head…

            …its imagination is stunted.

          • Zen Grouch

            **Did your old lady snap that photo of you on the john? You look like you’re bearing down… oh wait I’ll bet you were thinking!! Such a biggie boy!!!**

            …are you familiar with the term ‘fecal fetishist?’