Thursday, June 7 2012 7:21 AM EDT2012-06-07 11:21:45 GMT
Video obtained exclusively by FOX19 News shows a former ambulance driver in the Cincinnati area, who was hurt on the job, working illegally at a factory in Atlanta. Agents from the Ohio Bureau of Workers'Full Story >
Video obtained exclusively by FOX19 News shows a former ambulance driver in the Cincinnati area, who was hurt on the job, working illegally at a factory in Atlanta. Full Story >
Thursday, May 23 2013 12:07 AM EDT2013-05-23 04:07:35 GMT
So just what is a tornado cave? The idea of a tornado cave goes back to the 1880s, and the first member of my list of severe storm 'rock stars'. Sometime in the future, I will reveal all the members ofFull Story >
So just what is a tornado cave? The idea of a tornado cave goes back to the 1880s, and the first member of my list of severe storm 'rock stars'.Full Story >
An 80-year-old Japanese extreme skier who just missed becoming the oldest man to reach the summit of Mount Everest five years ago is back on the mountain to make another attempt at the title.Full Story >
An 80-year-old Japanese mountaineer on Thursday became the oldest man to reach the top of Mount Everest, a Nepali official and Miura's Tokyo-based support team said.Full Story >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 11:48 PM EDT2013-05-23 03:48:39 GMT
In preparation of Memorial Day, a group of boy scouts spent Wednesday evening putting flags at CVG. The young men from Troop 1 in Florence, along with members of the local American Legion, lined the entranceFull Story >
In preparation of Memorial Day, a group of boy scouts spent Wednesday evening putting flags at CVG.Full Story >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 11:29 PM EDT2013-05-23 03:29:53 GMT
Local residents had their final chance to weigh in on Cincinnati's $35 million budget deficit on Wednesday evening. In addition, Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan made a new proposal during the meeting asFull Story >
Local residents had their final chance to weigh in on Cincinnati's $35 million budget deficit on Wednesday evening. In addition, Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan made a new proposal as an effort to fill the budget gap. Full Story >
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -
A state investigator came close to losing her job in recent weeks after Ohio's inspector general uncovered evidence that she may have been driving a state-owned vehicle on personal time, FOX19 has learned.
Kimberly Pandilidis is an investigator and assistant supervisor at the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation's complex on Governor's Hill Drive in Cincinnati.
We've now confirmed, through dates provided by the inspector general, that at the time of that interview, Pandilidis knew she was under investigation for also possibly cheating the state out of money.
A whistleblower came forward to the inspector general with documents saying they showed Pandilidis was using her official state vehicle for personal use.
"I had noticed it for several years," said Doug Hunter, who used to work for Pandilidis.
In an exclusive interview with FOX19, Hunter said, "She was assigned a state vehicle. And she is primarily an office manager. She is not a field investigator. And I always questioned why they would have state vehicles."
A workers' comp spokeswoman disputes that claim, saying Pandilidis does conduct investigations out in the field and often travels to other parts of the state.
"When I had left, she had the newest vehicle," Hunter said. "That was probably a $30,000-something vehicle."
Pandilidis was allowed to take her vehicle home but it was only to be used for official business.
Yet Ohio's inspector general found that 17 times in the past few years, Pandilidis used taxpayer money to buy gasoline 60 minutes or more after she reported her work day had ended. Twice she bought fuel an hour or more before starting work.
"Mapping software determined a distance of 27 miles from Pandilidis' work headquarters to her residence," the inspector general's report said.
"Do you believe that Kimberly Pandilidis committed fraud?" FOX19 asked Inspector General Randy Meyer at his office in downtown Columbus.
"(Under) our definition here in the Ohio Inspector General's Office, she did commit fraud," Meyer said. "I mean, it was deceit in what she did."
However, he's not sending the case to prosecutors because Pandilidis' record keeping was so shoddy, he says, it's actually impossible to prove Pandilidis intended to cheat the state.
"'Intentional' is the keyword for the crime," Meyer said. "If we could've proved intent with this, that she intentionally violated the law, then it would've been a theft in office."
Although Pandilidis was happy to sit down with us last spring to criticize others, she did not respond to a letter from FOX19 requesting an interview. In addition, we asked to sit down with the administrator/CEO of Ohio's Bureau of Workers' Compensation, Stephen Buehrer. Instead, the agency only allowed us to speak with a PR person.
"There was no evidence in this report, and it was not referenced at all, that she was using the car for personal purposes," said workers' compensation PR manager, Melissa Vince.
But the report did reference the personal use of state-owned vehicles. It's on the bottom of page four and the top of page five and concludes: "This OBWC policy prohibits state-issued vehicles from being stopped, diverted or used in any manner to address any personal or non-state business matters, even if the stop requires no additional travel distance."
In our interview with Vince, we pointed out that we'd just come from the inspector general's office and he seemed to be saying that he suspects Pandilidis did use the vehicle for personal use, he just couldn't prove it.
"Ok," Vince replied. "Yeah, again, there was nothing in the report that mentioned personal use and there was no evidence of that."
Whistleblower Doug Hunter doesn't believe Pandilidis needed a state-owned car at all.
"Well, I think the taxpayers paid for at least a $30,000 vehicle that they didn't need to pay for," Hunter said.
He argues that, despite what workers' compensation says, Pandilidis spends most of her time at the Cincinnati office. That's backed up by the inspector general's report which documents 67 times when the mileage for Pandilidis' so-called "state business" equaled the mileage for her commute.
Hunter has his own issues at the Bureau of Workers' Compensation.
He was fired in 2010 over a controversy involving missing business cards that could've been used as evidence in a case involving a workers' comp recipient. The target of the investigation was accused of running a karaoke business while telling the state she was too hurt to work. Hunter maintains he did nothing wrong and is suing the agency, accusing its leaders of retaliating against him over a disagreement about how to handle cases involving undocumented workers.
In this current case, Inspector General Meyer may not be able to prove Pandilidis committed a crime but he says there's clear evidence of "wrongdoing."
"Or simply put, the way I like to say it, ‘It's any violation of common sense against the government,'" Meyer added.
Bureau of Workers' Compensation administrator, Stephen Buehrer, suspended Pandilidis for five days without pay the week before Thanksgiving. She is also losing some vacation time. And she is not allowed to take her state-owned vehicle home for at least six months.
Agency spokeswoman, Melissa Vince, says the five day suspension is just one step below being fired.
Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:31 PM EDT2013-05-22 02:31:55 GMT
The claim that the ongoing IRS scandal is limited to low level employees is falling apart. The six Cincinnati workers we have identified, who sent scrutinizing letters to conservative groups with wordsFull Story >
The claim that the ongoing IRS scandal is limited to low level employees is falling apart. Full Story >
Monday, May 20 2013 9:21 AM EDT2013-05-20 13:21:47 GMT
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - An Army wife who lost over 100 pounds while her husband was away in Afghanistan surprised the soldier Wednesday when he arrived at Wilmington International Airport. Misty Shaffer,Full Story >
A soldier from Wilmington returns from Afghanistan to a big surprise: a new wife, a new house and a different child.Full Story >
An Oregon girl abducted as a baby and missing for 18 years finally emerged in Dallas this week when her mother turned herself in to authorities, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Department. Full Story >
An Oregon girl abducted as a baby and missing for 18 years finally emerged in Dallas this week when her mother turned herself in to authorities, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Department.Full Story >
Monday, May 20 2013 5:09 PM EDT2013-05-20 21:09:30 GMT
A Warren County government office is evacuated after a suspicious powder is found. The Health and Human Services Center building on East Street in Lebanon was evacuated just after 11:00 on Monday. PoliceFull Story >
Police say that HAZMAT crews and the FBI were called to investigate the powder. The FBI has since left. Full Story >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 6:21 PM EDT2013-05-22 22:21:12 GMT
(RNN) - British officials are saying one man is dead and two others were injured in a possible terrorist attack in London on Wednesday.According to BBC News, eyewitnesses said man was attacked in a streetFull Story >
One man is dead after two men attacked him in broad daylight with knives and meat cleavers. Full Story >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 7:20 PM EDT2013-05-21 23:20:28 GMT
The Cincinnati Tea Party announced that it will protest the IRS on Tuesday over the targeting of liberty groups regarding their tax status. The protest will begin at Fountain Square at noon on TuesdayFull Story >
The Cincinnati Tea Party protested the IRS on Tuesday over the targeting of liberty groups regarding their tax status. Full Story >
Monday, May 6 2013 1:29 PM EDT2013-05-06 17:29:07 GMT
A man charged with public indecency is expected to appear in court. Police say 36-year-old Jason Fletcher and Laura Oditt engaged in sexual conduct in a public place. The location is not named in courtFull Story >
A man charged with public indecency is expected to appear in court.Full Story >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 11:38 AM EDT2013-05-22 15:38:38 GMT
A Brown County man has been arrested after an undercover drug investigation. Jeremy Collett, 30, of Winchester, Ohio was arrested and charged with two counts of Trafficking Drugs prescription pills toFull Story >
A Brown County man has been arrested after an undercover drug investigation.Full Story >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 12:47 PM EDT2013-05-22 16:47:42 GMT
A Cincinnati man who previously admitted to participating in a conspiracy to distribute heroin was sentenced to 162 months in federal prison. U.S. District Judge David Bunning sentenced Lee Moore, 43,Full Story >
A Cincinnati man who previously admitted to participating in a conspiracy to distribute heroin was sentenced to 162 months in federal prison.Full Story >