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Council Approves Budget, Contract With Former Member's Employer

Columbus City Council last night approved a 100 thousand dollar contract for St. Stephens Community House to fight infant mortality. The organization is headed by former council member Michelle Mills, who resigned last year amid several ethical probes. The Ohio Ethics Commission is investigating the awarding of municipal contracts to nonprofits that employ current or former council members. St. Stephens was awarded a 140 thousand dollar contract by council in 2014.  Mills is one of four current or former council members also under investigation by the commission for a trip they took to see the Ohio State football team play in the 2014 national title game that was paid for by now indicted lobbyist John Raphael. Mills did not disclose the trip, and paid her share after Raphael's role in the Redflex traffic camera scandal came to light. Days after resigning, Mills submitted also records to the Justice Department concerning her role in a probe of whether she accepted free dinners or gifts. Council last night also approved the 835.2 million dollar municipal budget, with members unable to allocate money for their initiatives due to little carryover funds from last year. The placeholder budget continues to devote two-thirds of spending to public safety.

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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