Dayton officials say there was an explanation for why a now-fired city employee’s company showed up in a city list of minority contractors using a phone number that rang to his city office.
RoShawn Winburn was fired from the city’s Human Relations Council department on May 3 after he was indicted on federal corruption charges. He is accused of taking bribes in exchange for leaking information to contractors and not fully reviewing the eligibility of disadvantaged, minority- and woman-owned businesses. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
The day before Winburn was fired, the Dayton Daily News discovered that Winburn’s private company, Aspyre Advisors LLC, was on a city-maintained list of certified disadvantaged businesses. The phone number list for Aspyre was that of the Human Relations Council.
The city removed Aspyre from its list when the Dayton Daily News asked about it and provided no immediate explanation for why the phone number rang to city offices. City officials said Aspyre did no work for the city during the time Winburn was a Dayton employee and employees aren’t permitted to take calls for a third party.
Winburn’s company was certified to the city of Dayton’s Procurement Enhancement Program in 2007, before Winburn was hired in 2014, according to HRC Executive Director Erica Fields, who provided additional details about Aspyre for the first time in a recent interview.
That certification had expired when Winburn gave the administrator of a third-party software permission to log in as Aspyre to figure out why vendors were having problems updating their information in the system, Fields said.
The HRC phone number was listed as contact information for Aspyre by the administrator of the software called CityBOTS during that test.
FEDERAL INVESTIGATION: Who is RoShawn Winburn?
CityBOTS is a third-party software the city uses to manage the procurement certification list and other records. The city pays the Texas-based company Hervey Inc. an annual licensing fee for the software, which was $28,500 this year, according to city records.
Officials with Hervey Inc. did not respond to emails seeking comment.
City officials have said they no longer have records of Aspyre’s involvement in the program because they are not required to keep records that far back.
Winburn is one of four Dayton men indicted in what prosecutors have described as an ongoing investigation into corruption in area politics. He also served as a Huber Heights city council member.
Winburn did not return a message seeking comment left on the listed phone number on the Aspyre website. His attorney also did not return a phone call.
Aspyre’s website says it is a wealth management firm. The only employee listed on the site is Winburn. Aspyre was incorporated in 2008 as Monument Capital Advisors, then Winburn became its CEO and changed its name to Aspyre in 2010, according to records filed with the Ohio Secretary of State.
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