I-Team: Bogus mayoral signature found in city audit - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

I-Team: Bogus mayoral signature found in city audit

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Is a bogus signature sloppy record keeping or a sign of criminal activity? A signature on a grant document that appeared to be that of former Mayor Mike Bell turned out to not be a genuine signature, raising questions for Toledo's current mayor.

The document has now been turned over to Toledo Police, and former Mayor Bell agrees that is where it belongs.

It appears someone attached the mayor's signature to a façade grant agreement for University Bible Fellowship on Dorr Street.

"I have to say I was shocked," says Mayor D. Michael Collins. "So amateurish. Not that it justifies anything, but it, the level of irresponsibility is beyond definition."

Mayor Mike Collins' administration found the bogus signature as part of an audit. A check was issued to the bible fellowship and the work was completed.

The 13abc I-Team wanted to know whether this was just sloppy paperwork or something more sinister.

"As far as the mental culpability goes, I'll leave that up to the criminal investigation," the mayor says.

Former Mayor Bell told the I-Team he doesn't recall this particular façade grant. He says legislation typically would go through the law department, then a deputy mayor, then for his personal signature, not an electronic signature.

More audits will happen, but it's not clear if anything similar problems will be found.

"I would hope not," Bell says. "But I am certainly not of an opinion that there may not be more there. I would just hope."   

Mayor Collins says he will be signing things by hand, just as Bell says he did.

"None of these things pass my desk without my signature," Collins says. "I will not give them an electronic signature, and I will not authorize my signature to be used other than myself." 

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