Commissioners say they should have been told of FBI probe's results

Tri-City HeraldJune 10, 2012 

— Two Franklin County commissioners said they should have been told two years ago the full results of the FBI's investigation of employee Dennis Huston.

Commission Chairman Brad Peck and Commissioner Rick Miller said they were never briefed on the results of the investigation beyond being told the allegations were unsubstantiated.

"Nothing was documented to us," Miller said. "My concern was when the FBI found it was unsubstantiated, it was done. How do you second-guess the FBI?"

Had they known in 2010 that Huston failed a polygraph test, it would have raised a red flag, he said.

Peck agreed, saying he thinks if more information about the complete investigation were known, "It may have at least spurred a healthy discussion and debate and may have led to better scrutiny" of county spending practices and Huston.

Both commissioners knew at the time that the FBI was investigating Huston. Commissioner Bob Koch wasn't aware of it and previously has said Huston's arrest and criminal background came as a complete surprise.

Miller said he thought the details would be shared with commissioners once the case was closed.

Since Huston's February 2012 arrest, county officials have been trying to determine who knew what and when.

Peck said he was told Huston's criminal history was known by the selection committee in 1989.

"What does surprise me is that 20-some years ago, somebody apparently thought it was OK to hire -- knowingly hire -- a convicted felon who was convicted specifically of embezzlement and put them in a position where they would be overseeing significant amounts of money," Peck said. "I'm not a heartless person, but you don't put a recovering drug addict in a pharmacy to work."

The county has completed an internal investigation that apparently answers some of the lingering questions. The internal report has been shared with the commissioners but has not been released to the public.

Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant said it's considered attorney-client work and is currently considered confidential as a privileged report.

Miller said he thinks details of the investigation, which was paid for with taxpayer money, should be released.

"I don't think it hurts us," he said. "It gives a lot of information that happened there. I think the public should see it."

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