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Published: Friday, 4/9/2004

Porn sites found on state computer

BY JAMES DREW
BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU CHIEF

COLUMBUS - The husband of Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton used his state computer to subscribe to adult pornographic Web sites and download hundreds of porn images and videos, the state's anti-corruption watchdog said yesterday.

John "Jack" Lundberg, executive director of the state board which regulates auto body shops, also used the computer on state time to download files that identified donors to his wife's Supreme Court campaign in 2002 and to her Democratic opponent, send e-mails about politics, and receive congratulatory messages about his wife's victory over Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Janet Burnside, Inspector General Tom Charles said.

The inspector general's investigation also revealed that Mr. Lundberg, 45, vacationed twice in Costa Rica at the home of Barbara Lewis, a member of the Board of Motor Vehicle Collision Repair Registration and his wife's campaign manager in 2002.

Mr. Lundberg and Justice Stratton spent a week in Costa Rica with Ms. Lewis and her husband in January, 2002, and Mr. Lundberg spent another week that September without paying, Mr. Charles said.

Mr. Lundberg failed to disclose the trips as gifts on his financial disclosure statement in 2002, and that omission along with the entire investigation has been referred to the Ohio Ethics Commission for review, Mr. Charles said.

Justice Stratton disclosed what she called a "family trip with personal friends" on her statement filed with the high court's board of commissioners on grievances and discipline, court spokesman Chris Davey said.

Yesterday afternoon, the board accepted Mr. Lundberg's resignation.

Board Chairman Dennis Sterwerf said Mr. Lundberg didn't dispute the inspector general's investigation.

"We will miss the passion he had for his job,'' Mr. Sterwerf said.

Justice Stratton released a written statement about her husband: "We have been living apart for some time, and I had no knowledge of his activities as outlined in the report. As to other matters, I ask that you respect my family's privacy.

"Regarding any claims that he downloaded a campaign report to his computer, I had no knowledge of that and had believed that all reports were sent directly to my campaign computer from the Secretary of State's office," she wrote.

Mr. Charles said his investigation did not find any evidence that Justice Stratton was aware of her husband's use of his state computer to access porn or take part in politics.

Justice Stratton married her first husband in 1973 and had two sons. They divorced after 16 years of marriage and she married Mr. Lundberg, a former professional triathlete, in 1995.

Mr. Charles said his investigation began after he received a complaint on Feb. 9 from a former board employee, Joe Montano, alleging that Mr. Lundberg had improperly used a state computer.

An analysis of Mr. Lundberg's computer revealed he received 180 pornographic-related messages and ads from Jan. 1 to Feb. 11. Mr. Charles said a March 27 electronic receipt confirmed Mr. Lundberg's paid subscription to an adult porn Web site.

"When interviewed, Mr. Lundberg admitted to subscribing to other pornographic Web sites at his own expense and downloading hundreds of pornographic images and videos over the past several years," Mr. Charles wrote.

The state has a policy that a public employee's use of an office computer for purposes other than work is prohibited.

The state created the Board of Motor Vehicle Collision Repair Registration in 1998 and about 1,700 auto body shops are registered each year. Mr. Lundberg was hired in October, 1998, when Republican George Voinovich was governor, and his annual salary is $72,924.

Mr. Charles said his investigation also found that Mr. Lundberg failed to properly monitor his small agency's operation, which consists of himself, an assistant director, and a now-vacant investigator's job.

Based on stamped time sheets, it appeared that the board's assistant director, Diane Hoenig, worked less than eight hours a day 62 percent of the time in 2002, Mr. Charles said.

James Drew can be reached at:

jdrew@theblade.com

or 614-221-0496.



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