The state of Ohio is revoking two disadvantaged business certifications of a Trotwood trucking company owned by Joyce Sutton Cameron, one of three people indicted on federal charges related to defrauding the city of Dayton’s program for minority and disadvantaged businesses.
The Ohio Department of Administrative Services opened a review of Green Star Trucking Inc. on Oct. 30 after federal officials announced the indictment of Sutton Cameron, 71, of Trotwood, her husband and Green Star employee James Cameron, 80, both of Trotwood, and businessman Steve Rauch, 64, of Germantown.
Rauch pleaded not guilty, and the Camerons have not entered pleas to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and six counts of mail fraud. They each face up to 20 years in prison on each of the seven counts.
The decision to revoke came Wednesday after Sutton Cameron failed to provide the state with requested documentation after being informed that the state was reviewing the trucking company’s certifications under the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity (EDGE) programs, said Melissa Vince, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS).
Sutton Cameron, who was mayor of Trotwood from 2010-2016, could not be reached for comment. She has 30 days to appeal the revocation before it takes effect, said Vince.
“We certainly support the DAS decision, based on the allegations. We would reject (Green Star’s) participation on any future OFCC projects based on the allegations,” said J.C. Benton, spokesman for the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission.
Last year Rauch used Green Star as a subcontractor for an OFCC project, demolition of the former Middletown High School/Vail Middle School in Middletown, for which Green Star was paid $24,000, according to the OFCC.
Green Star has been certified as an MBE and EDGE company since 2005, and is also certified by the city of Dayton in the Women Business Enterprise, Dayton Local Small Business Enterprise, and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 3 programs. Those certifications give Green Star preference over non-disadvantaged companies on local, state and federally funded projects and helped contractors like Rauch win government contracts that required minority and disadvantaged business participation.
The investigation also found that that Green Star won work as a subcontractor on at least 34 public contracts since 2008.
New Jersey-based Barrett Paving Materials used Green Star Trucking as a subcontractor on $9.1 million in ODOT projects since 2012 and $5.2 million in contracts for three paving projects at Dayton International Airport and Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport between 2011-2018, the investigation found.
“An indictment alone doesn’t give us the grounds to debar them. A conviction would certainly change things,” said Matt Bruning, press secretary for ODOT. “The move by DAS only keeps them from being used toward meeting EDGE or MBE goals. It doesn’t prevent them from doing work on a project, at this point.”
The federal indictment accuses Rauch of using Green Star's minority status to win "hundreds of thousands of dollars in demolition contracts" from the city of Dayton and other governmental entities between 2012 and 2014, a period in which Sutton Cameron was Trotwood mayor. According to the indictment, Rauch "caused his company, Steve Rauch Inc., to complete all or a substantial portion" of the work Green Star was supposed to do.
Rauch and the Camerons are accused of producing false documentation to make it appear Green Star had done the work. Instead of paying what Green Star was supposed to be paid under Rauch’s government contract, Rauch allegedly paid the Camerons “a fee — usually consisting of either several thousand dollars or credits against debts,” according to the indictment.
Dayton officials could not be reached for comment on the latest development involving Green Star, but in an earlier interview City Manager Shelley Dickstein said the city is likely to change how it handles contracting and the disadvantaged business programs.
The decisions will be made once she has received final reports from local law firm Green and Green, which is doing an independent investigation of the city’s contracting, and accounting firm Julian and Grube, which is reviewing procurement practices.
Those companies were hired in the wake of the first four indictments announced in April as part of a federal investigation of public corruption in the Dayton region. The indictment of Rauch and the Camerons is part of that investigation.
Seven people indicted in federal public corruption investigation
One count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and six counts of mail fraud:
- Steve Rauch, 64, of Germantown, owner of Steve Rauch Inc., pleaded not guilty.
- Joyce Sutton Cameron, 71 of Trotwood, owner of Green Star Trucking Inc. and former mayor of Trotwood, has not entered a plea.
- James Cameron, 80, of Trotwood, an employee of Green Star and Cameron’s husband, has not entered a plea.
One count corruptly soliciting a bribe:
- Former Dayton City Commissioner Joey D. Williams, 53, pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.
One count of mail fraud:
- Former State Rep. Clayton Luckie, 56, a Democrat who represented Dayton, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four months in prison, four months in home detention, three years of supervised release and 100 hours of community service.
Three counts of honest services wire fraud, two counts of corruptly soliciting a bribe and one count of making a false statement to the FBI:
- Former Dayton business and technical assistance administrator RoShawn Winburn, 45, pleaded not guilty.
Three counts of mail fraud and one of wire fraud:
- Dayton businessman Brian Higgins, 48, pleaded not guilty
Source: U.S. District Court for the Southern District