Toledo Councilmember looking to recoup money city spent on moving Buckeye Broadband lines

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 10:31 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A Toledo City Councilmember is planning to introduce a resolution in an effort to recoup funds the city spent on utilities for the Summit Street reconstruction project, which has sparked questioning from federal investigators.

During Tuesday’s city council meeting, Councilmember Rob Ludeman said he is working on a resolution to determine whether the city spent unnecessary funds on the project and how much.

“Hopefully we can come to some consensus on sending a message to the administration and the utility companies that we want to get our taxpayer’s money back,” said Ludeman.

The City of Toledo paid around $1 million to move Buckeye Broadband lines but other companies had to pay for charges themselves. It has since hired a private law firm to look into the matter.

The Councilmember said he asked city administrators specific questions about payments for the utilities and has yet to receive answers in writing. Ludeman previously told 13abc he believes Buckeye Broadband got a special deal.

“I think as information comes out we’re going to have pursue it,” said Ludeman. “And if the administration is not, I don’t see it, I think council is going to have to take appropriate action. That’s going to take some doing.”

Toledo’s law director, Dale Emch, told the city auditor in 2020 he considered the project an aesthetic fix, so the City of Toledo had to pay.

Utility lines have come up in city construction in the past. In 2002, AT&T sued both the city and Lucas County for nearly $300,000 over moving lines beneath Superior Street for construction of Fifth Third Field. Three years later, a federal judge ruled in favor of the city and county which said the AT&T had to pay.

It’s unclear when the resolution to look into the Summit Street reconstruction project will be introduced or when it will go to a vote.

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