May 1, 2013
LIMA — One day after a not guilty verdict at trial against the head of the Allen Metropolitan Housing Authority, the prosecution dropped its final criminal case stemming from the police raid of the agency.
Lima Prosecutors dismissed the case against Cheryl Lawson late Wednesday on the eve of her trial on charges of workers’ compensation fraud and falsification.
The misdemeanor charges against Lawson accused her of filing a false claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Lawson, a receptionist at the agency, said she was injured when Lima Police raided the Housing Authority on March 27, 2012. Lawson was arrested after she failed to comply with an order from an officer in a time frame the officer gave.
The head of the agency, Anna Schnippel, was acquitted Tuesday of falsification following a five-day trial at Lima Municipal Court. She was accused of making a false statement to a workers’ compensation investigator over Lawson’s arrest.
An investigator reported Schnippel said police entered the agency like “storm troopers” and referred to them as “jackbooted thieves.”
Following the acquittal, City Prosecutor Rick Eddy said he was prepared to go forward with the case against Lawson but that decision changed late Wednesday.
Chief City Prosecutor Jeff Routson said the prosecution team sat down and came to a decision after discussing Lawson’s case and the recent verdict in the Schnippel case.
“We looked at the cases and they have similar witnesses. After the Schnippel outcome we just decided it wasn’t a viable case,” Routson said. “The jury spoke on Schnippel.”
A third employee, Bruce Monford, the brother of the housing board President Rev. Lamont Monford, is facing eight felony counts of tampering with records and two counts of felony theft in office. The charges accuse Bruce Monford of crimes related to his duties as a housing inspector for the agency.