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Port s investigation into Hartung should be completed next week

Port-s-investigation-into-Hartung-should-be-completed-next-week

James Hartung <BR> <img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/assets/gif/weblink_icon.gif> <font color=red> <b>READ</font color=red></b>: <a href=" /assets/jpg/TO50309712.JPG" target="_blank "><b>Finkbeiner's letter</b></a> to the port board members <BR> <img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/assets/gif/TO17150419.GIF> <b><font color=red>VIEW</b></font color=red>: <a href=" /assets/pdf/TO51027722.PDF" target="_blank "><b>Port records request</b></a>

The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
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The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority s investigation of lobbying expenses by president James Hartung should be completed within a week, the chairman of the agency s board of directors said following a 90-minute closed-door meeting Thursday morning with attorneys conducting the inquiry.

In the meantime, chairman William Carroll said, Mr. Hartung remains the port authority s president. He also described a separate investigation that the city of Toledo has launched into the matter as "redundant" and called the Finkbeiner administration s recent request for port authority records "onerous."

Mr. Carroll said a special port board meeting will be held in one week to discuss the port s investigation and "review the findings." He said he expects the investigation "will conclude at that point."

Mr. Hartung was not present during the port board s meeting with two attorneys from the Toledo law firm Spengler Nathanson to discuss the status of the investigation of Mr. Hartung who, on July 11, was accused by Mayor Carty Finkbeiner of steering lobbying funds to Kathy Teigland, a former administrative aide to U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine (R., Ohio) who had been hired to serve as a lobbyist for a consortium of Lucas County governments, colleges, and economic development agencies.

Mr. Finkbeiner alleged that Mr. Hartung, who is married, was having an affair with Ms. Teigland at the time the port authority recommended her lobbying firm to the Northwest Ohio Legislative Consortium. He said he learned of the alleged affair from "recognized persons in our community."

The mayor subsequently demanded an "independent investigation" of Mr. Hartung s conduct and other problems at the port authority. After Mr. Carroll declared that bringing Spengler Nathanson in to fill that role was sufficient, the Finkbeiner administration announced that it would conduct its own inquiry.

The city "must conduct its own fact-gathering of port activities to ensure that the truth is not hidden, avoided, distorted or clouded," Adam Loukx, the city s acting law director, said in a written statement early this week.

The city and the port authority have each filed public-records requests from the other. Mr. Carroll said Thursday morning that the port authority had not yet turned over any documents in response to the city s records request, filed Monday. The city request included transmission of what Mr. Carroll said Tuesday was a small number of city records related to the lobbying activities.

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