The following is a timeline of events in the Dynus fiber optics scandal in Butler County, Ohio. The investigation started in 2005 when Butler County Commissioner Charles Furmon asked the FBI to look into whether the now-defunct fiber optics firm Dynus Corp. took out a multi-million dollar loan in the county’s name without approval.
Aug. 9, 2004: County Auditor Kay Rogers signs a mutual confidentiality agreement with Jim Smith, chief marketing officer of CBS Technologies, which later became Dynus Corp.
Sept. 15, 2004: Rogers signs a declaration that Smith is a representative of the county.
Dec. 31, 2004: Rogers signs a resolution at her home saying the county would borrow roughly $5.3 million from National City Bank for a fiber-optics deal with Dynus Global Communications. The resolution listed Rogers and Smith as representatives of the county.
Dec. 31, 2004: Rogers and County Commissioner Michael Fox have phone conversation with National City.
Jan. 12, 2005: A Dynus representative identified by the FBI as “JS” paid $9,500 to “HRH, a third-party intermediary company,” according to the FBI.
Jan. 19, 2005: HRH pays $9,500 to Rogers.
Feb. 28, 2005: Smith meets with commissioners about planned project.
July 28, 2005: Commissioners approved an agreement with Dynus Corp., allowing the company to use four of the county’s fibers in exchange for the company luring new jobs and investment into the county.
Aug. 26, 2005: Dynus’ line of credit with Fifth Third increased from $3 million to $7 million as a result of the Butler County contract.
Late August 2005: County receives invoice for lease agreements and discovers debt with National City.
Sept. 14, 2005: County administration meets with Dynus and National City officials, seeking a way to settle the dispute.
Sept. 16, 2005: Commissioners unanimously sever the economic development agreement.
Sept. 22, 2005: FBI begins investigation of potential bank fraud, other crimes.
Sept. 26, 2005: Rogers returns the $9,500 to HRH “in an effort to conceal the receipt of (the money),” according to the FBI. The money then went back to J.S.
Oct. 6, 2005: Commissioner Charles Furmon says Rogers, Smith, West Chester Twp. Trustee and Dynus Financial President George Lang, County GOP Executive Director and Dynus Technologies Government Relations Director Scott Owens, Dynus CEO Orlando Carter, and officials from Fifth Third Bank met March 8, 2005 to discuss the debt.
Oct. 11, 2005: Fifth Third gives Dynus three days to pay back $6 million because the Butler County contract is in question.
Oct. 14, 2005: Fifth Third halts Dynus’ payroll, locks doors, and files suit for default in Hamilton County.
Nov. 10, 2005: Butler County files lawsuit against Dynus, National City to absolve debt. National City forgives debt.
Feb. 2006: Dynus sues the county for $12 million, the value of the disputed contract with the county plus punitive damages.
March 29, 2006: Rogers does not disclose the receipt of $9,500 from J.S. or Dynus in her financial disclosure statement, according to federal officials.
Sept. 2006: Dynus officials drop their lawsuit, saying they want to give the FBI investigation time to pan out.
Sept. 2007: Dynus’ deadline to refile comes and goes as the FBI investigation trudges on.
Feb. 25, 2008: Court records are unsealed that includes County Auditor Kay Rogers’ guilty plea to bank and mail fraud, and tax evasion.
March 4, 2008: County Auditor Kay Rogers resigns amid pressure from state and local officials.
May 7, 2008: Federal officials release 11-charge indictment of Carter for charges including bank fraud, and release guilty pleas to bank fraud from Smith and Dynus projects manager Karin Verbruggen.
Aug. 2009: Carter found guilty on 11 felony charges for his part in a scheme that cost two banks more than $10 million, caused his company’s 2005 collapse and ignited political scandal in Butler County. Rogers, Smith and Verbruggen all plead guilty in the case.
Oct. 29, 2009: U.S. District Court unseals an eight-count indictment on former Butler County Commissioner Michael Fox. The indictment also names Robert Schuler, the son of a late state legislator and friend of Fox dating back to their days at Miami University. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Fox and Schuler “conspired to improperly benefit from Butler County contracts involving a (fiber optics) company doing business with the county,” and that the men failed to report income from the deals on their federal income tax returns. Fox is also charged with mail fraud for allegedly failing to disclose conflicts of interest in Ohio ethics disclosure statements he mailed annually from 2004 through 2007. Schuler is charged with perjury for alleged false testimony he gave to a federal grand jury on Oct. 1, 2008.
June 9, 2010: Carter is sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Aug. 4, 2010: The federal government files a superseding indictment against Mike Fox adding the term “kickback and bribery scheme” to the original indictment. In subsequent filings, Fox’s defense attorneys claimed this was a new indictment but it was allowed. Also, Fox’s attorney’s attempted to have all charges dismissed. They were not.
Aug. 25, 2010: After the Oct. 4 trial was delayed, Mike Fox’s trial was set for April 11, 2011. A pre-conference trial was set for March 9, 2011.
Dec. 15, 2010: George Lang is indicted on a federal perjury charge. The U.S. government said the West Chester Twp. trustee lied under oath during the Carter trial. Lang claimed he did not know Jim Smith was an employee of Dynus.
Jan. 25, 2011: The federal government lays out its case, showing its evidence Lang knew Jim Smith was an employee of Dynus. That evidence included sworn statements from Smith and former Butler County GOP Chair Scott Owens, documents from Lang’s companies, and e-mails from Lang identifying Orlando Carter and Smith as the “leadership” of Dynus.
Jan. 30, 2011: George Lang’s federal perjury trial begins and is expected to last five days.
Information compiled by Cox Media Group Ohio.
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