Ohio officials with criminal pasts in lead for top property tax review board positions

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Cuyahoga County seems to be having a difficult time coming up with candidates for its reformed Board of Revision that don’t have criminal offenses in their recent past.

On Tuesday, The Cleveland Plain Dealer said that another two candidates who were finalists for newly-formed panels that review taxpayer requests for reassessment, had checkered pasts. The news came one day after another candidate, Steven Majors,  was learned to have been convicted of disorderly conduct and drunken driving.

The two other candidates, Gary Paulenske and Steve Billington, were appointed to the department by outgoing county treasurer Jim Rokakis, and were advanced as finalists to be selected to the three-member panels.

Paulenske, a former Cleveland councilman, was convicted of disorderly conduct in 2004, a reduced charge from theft after being caught shoplifting $21 worth of chewing tobacco. He was also convicted twice of drunken driving.

The other candidate, Billington, also was convicted of disorderly conduct in 2003.

Last year, a Plain Dealer investigation of the revision board found numerous violations of county policies and state law, and raised questions about the fairness of valuations determined by the board. In December, two former board members were indicted on corruption charges relating to favorable valuations handed out to family, friends and co-workers.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer

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