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President of Port Authority is accused of wrongs

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The president of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, James Hartung, is under investigation for alleged misconduct, William Carroll, chairman of the agency's board, said yesterday.

Mr. Carroll told The Blade he was asked this week by Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner to review and investigate actions by Mr. Hartung, who has been president of the port authority since 1994.

The mayor called for Mr. Hartung's suspension, Mr. Carroll said.

"The mayor did do that, but at this point, these are allegations, and before we do anything as drastic as what the mayor wants, we have to find out if there is any truth to the allegations, so we will investigate," Mr. Carroll said.

Mr. Finkbeiner would not confirm his conversation with Mr. Carroll nor would he say whether he asked for Mr. Hartung to be suspended.

Neither the mayor nor Mr. Carroll would elaborate on why Mr. Hartung was being investigated.

"I don't know. It's [allegations of] financial impropriety is all I have heard," Mr. Carroll said.

At a press conference yesterday afternoon concerning green initiatives by the city, Mr. Finkbeiner briefly addressed the issue.

"As I appoint half of the port authority board, matters of concern regarding the agency, I share with the port board members from time to time," the mayor said. "Once I have done that, I expect and allow the port author-ity board leadership to consider, review, and or investigate the concern or matter I have shared with them. I trust they will do just that."

After reading his statement, Mayor Finkbeiner refused to take any questions.

Mr. Hartung could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Port board member Dennis Duffey said Mr. Carroll was trying to substantiate rumors concerning Mr. Hartung's actions.

Board members Jeri Milstead, Thomas Palmer, and A. Bailey Stanbery said they were unaware of the nature of the allegations against Mr. Hartung.

The remaining eight port board members did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Staff writer Alex M. Parker contributed to this report.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.

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