Your government working hard for you. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports:
CLEVELAND, Ohio — A federal grand jury today returned a 36-count indictment against William Montague, the former director of the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center.
The 51-page indictment accuses Montague, 61, of accepting bribes and kickbacks, and of conspiring to defraud the Department of Veterans Affairs in league with convicted electrical contractor Michael Forlani, the former owner of Doan Pyramid Electric.
Montague accepted gifts, money and other things of value from Forlani in exchange for favorable information that helped Forlani to receive VA contracts over competitors, and used his influence to steer companies to lease office space from Forlani, the indictment states.
The indictment comes about three weeks after FBI agents searched Montague’s home in Brecksville.
Forlani, 55, was sentenced in April to eight years in federal prison for racketeering, bribery and other corruption-related charges. Forlani was the primary developer of the $125 million enlarged VA campus.
The indictment also accuses Montague of performing consulting work for a private company seeking business from the Department of Veteran Affairs at the same time he was still employed by the VA.
Montague was arrested today and was scheduled to make an initial appearance in U.S. District Court later today.
Montague joined the VA in 1975 and retired in 2010. He was the medical center’s director during much of the planning for Forlani’s project.
Forlani’s business, Veterans Development LLC, was selected by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to develop and manage the hospital consolidation project.
The business venture was criticized last year by the U.S. Inspector General as being ill-conceived. The office said that instead of saving an estimated $29 million a year as forecast by Forlani and local VA administrators, the consolidation to Wade Park would cost the VA nearly half a billion dollars over the next 20 years.