Former Trotwood Mayor Joyce Sutton Cameron pleaded not guilty Tuesday on multiple federal charges in her first appearance in U.S. District Court since her indictment was announced in October.
Sutton Cameron said little during her arraignment in front of U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Michael J. Newman, other than that she understood her rights. A not guilty plea was entered on her behalf by her attorney, Lawrence Greger.
She was released on her own recognizance but had to forfeit her passport and submit a DNA sample as part of her bond conditions.
Greger and federal prosecutor Brent Tabacchi both declined comment after the hearing. A next court date in the case has not been set.
The May 28 federal indictment names Sutton Cameron, 71, owner of Green Star Trucking Inc. and mayor of Trotwood from 2010-16. It also names her husband and Green Star employee, James Cameron, 80, and Steve Rauch, 64, of Germantown, owner of Steve Rauch Inc.
Each is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and six counts of mail fraud. Each count is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The indictment relates to allegations of fraudulently obtaining demolition contracts from governments, including the city of Dayton.
It was Sutton Cameron’s first appearance in court. It is not clear when James Cameron will make an initial appearance.
Rauch has pleaded not guilty.
The indictment of the Camerons and Rauch are part of a long-term investigation into claims of public corruption in the Dayton region revealed in April when then-Interim U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman announced the indictment of four men, including a former Dayton city commissioner and a Dayton city employee.
The federal indictment accuses Rauch of using Green Star’s minority status to win demolition contracts from the city of Dayton and other governmental entities between 2012 and 2014. 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, he allegedly paid the Camerons “a fee — usually consisting of either several thousand dollars or credits against debts,” according to the indictment.
The state of Ohio earlier this month announced it will revoke two disadvantaged business certifications of Green Star Trucking. The inquiry was opened after the indictments were announced.
Sutton Cameron has until Dec. 21 to appeal but has not done so, said Melissa Vince, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Administrative Services.
The men whose indictments were announced in April are former Dayton City Commissioner Joey D. Williams, now-fired Dayton city employee RoShawn Winburn, former state Rep. Clayton Luckie and businessman Brian Higgins.
Winburn, 45, pleaded not guilty to 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.
Winburn is a former Huber Heights council member and was business and technical assistance administrator for the city of Dayton’s Human Relations Council until he was fired after the indictment was announced. Winburn’s trial is scheduled for Feb. 24.
Higgins, 48, pleaded not guilty to three counts of mail fraud and one of wire fraud for allegedly defrauding an insurance company in 2014 and 2015 with a claim involving a leaking fish tank that damaged his home. His trial is scheduled for Feb. 18.
Higgins formerly owned the defunct Sidebar 410 in the Oregon District and a livery service that hauled bodies for the Montgomery County coroner.
On Sept. 27, Williams, a former local bank executive, pleaded guilty and was convicted of corruptly soliciting a bribe. He will be sentenced Jan. 29.
In November, Luckie, 56, was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to one count of mail fraud related to defrauding the city of Dayton’s disadvantaged business program. He was sentenced to four months in prison followed by three years of supervised released, including four months in home confinement.
In an exclusive interview with the Dayton Daily News and News Center 7, Luckie said he did not do anything wrong and will seek a presidential pardon.
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