Ohio officials cleared after attending bikini hot tub party - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Ohio officials cleared after attending bikini hot tub party

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - An investigation by the Ohio Office of Inspector General has cleared four state officials of wrongdoing for attending a hot tub party, but finds their actions bring an appearance of impropriety.

The investigation centered around four hearing officers from the Ohio Industrial Commission before a two day conference at Maumee State Park.

Industrial Commission officers hear worker and employer appeals of workers' compensation claim determinations by the  Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation.

The Inspector General found  that hearing officers Gary Bash, Mike Brown, Michael Dobronos, and Milutin Zlojutro stopped by a park cabin where lawyers from a Cleveland law firm were holding a party. 

Three females were at the party, including one who is employed by the law firm that represents clients at Industrial Commission hearings.

At one point the females were wearing bikinis, and one attorney admitted sending a text to one of the hearing officers claiming that one of the women was naked.

The  four hearing officers say  food and drinks were provided at the open cabin, but they did not eat anything.

The hearing officers say they did not see any nudity and that both male attorneys who hosted the gathering were in the hot tub with at least one of the three females present.

Also, all four of the hearing officers stated that at least one of the attorneys present represented clients at hearings where any one of the four officers had presided.

The report concluded that while nothing prohibits hearing officers and attorneys from getting together in a social setting at an agency-sponsored meeting, the Office of the Ohio Inspector General found the nature of the gathering to be questionable.

The report recommends that the Chairman of the Industrial Commission review the actions of the four hearing officers to determine if administrative action or additional training is warranted, and to define expectations of employees regarding appropriate professional conduct while attending meetings, conferences and seminars.
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