Former Ohio Workers’ Comp Official Accused of Taking Gifts

July 5, 2007

A former member of the oversight commission for the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation was charged with ethics violations accusing him of accepting inappropriate meals, flights and other gifts.

The charges, which allege George Forbes took the gifts from two investment marketers linked to companies doing or seeking business from the state insurance fund for injured workers. The allegations are the latest in a string of criminal cases that have resulted from a scandal uncovered two years ago following more than $300 million in lost investments at the agency.

Forbes, president of the Cleveland NAACP and a longtime figure in state Democratic politics, has agreed to plead guilty to some of the six charges and no contest to others at an arraignment last week, his attorney James Wooley said. He declined further comment.

Forbes accepted entertainment and other items of value from the two investment marketers from October 1997 through November 2003, the Ohio Ethics Commission said in a news release. Each charge is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

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