ELYRIA — A longtime Lorain County maintenance worker resigned Monday while under investigation for allegedly stealing scrap metal from county buildings and selling it to local scrap yards.
County Administrator Jim Cordes said he had been preparing to hold a disciplinary hearing for Joe Renaldo when the resignation was submitted.
Cordes said county officials learned about the alleged thefts from a local scrap yard where Renaldo had sold old equipment used by county Auditor Craig Snodgrass’ weights and measures staff.
An investigation was launched by county sheriff’s deputies, and Cordes said that probe turned up video and other “damning evidence” against Renaldo.
Cordes said there is also evidence that Renaldo had taken scrap metal from other county buildings, but the county is still reviewing what might have been taken. He said Renaldo received about $40 or $45 for the scrap metal that the county knows about.
The weights and measures equipment has been recovered, Cordes said.
Don Kovacs, president of United Steelworkers Local 8845, which represents county maintenance workers, said he was surprised when he learned about the allegations against Renaldo.
“He’s been here 19 years, and he’s become a friend to many,” Kovacs said. “I don’t want to believe it.”
But Kovacs said that Renaldo resigned before he could look into the alleged thefts.
In an email informing the commissioners of Renaldo’s resignation, Cordes wrote that Renaldo is taking vacation time that will serve as his two-week notice.