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Coleman Won't Be Charged For Sale Of Home

WCBE files

Federal prosecutors say outgoing Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman will not face criminal charges related to the sale of his former home in Berwick. Jim Letizia reports.

The U.S. Attorney's office has notifed Coleman's representatives that a federal investigation has concluded and no charges will be filed against Coleman for the sale of his former home to a Chinese businesswoman. Jianhua Li works for a Chinese medical products company and wanted to use Rickenbacker Airport as a tax-free distribution hub. The FBI earlier this year launched a probe of the 2010 sale of Coleman’s home to Li for 520 thousand dollars, well above the appraised value. The bureau subpoeaned Coleman for records, but he said he had no prior dealings with Li and was unaware of her business interests. After the purchase, Li received significant help from Columbus Development Department employee Bob Hsieh, who along with Coleman’s real-estate agent and personal assistant, helped Li get visas to the United States. Prosecutors say Hsieh helped Li shift money to her business interests. Hsieh said first he was directed to help Li, but he later told internal investigators he acted alone and was disciplined for violating several work rules. He must make restitution by forfeiting 63 hours of accrued vacation time. He was also suspended for eight days. Notes from Hsieh's supervisors indicated he was helping a potential foreign investor do business in the city.

Jim has been with WCBE since 1996. Before that he worked as a reporter at another Columbus radio station, and for three newspapers in Southwest Florida.
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