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Property Room Supervisor Accused of Theft No Stranger To Trouble

Sinclair Broadcast Group, CBS News,

Hamilton County, OH

Michael Esposito, property room supervisor for the Hamilton County Sheriff, is accused of stealing from the property room. (Hamilton County Sheriff, WKRC-TV)

The Regional Narcotics Unit and sheriff's office has arrested the man in charge of the property room and his wife and stepson. Michael Esposito, Allison Esposito and Adam Fintak are charged with tampering with evidence and the sheriff's department says this is just the tip of the iceberg.

If Esposito's name sounds familiar it's because he's been in trouble before. Local 12's Joe Webb has been following this story off and on since 1990.

23 years ago this month, Michael "Mickey" Esposito was a Deputy Hamilton County Auditor at the center of another scandal. He survived that and somehow got back on the county payroll in 2001. A year later he was put in charge of the county property room. A lot of people are wondering just how that could happen.

The sheriff claims Esposito took something from the property room at the patrol headquarters on Hamilton Avenue. He's charged with tampering with evidence. Search warrants executed by the Regional Narcotics Unit led to Esposito, his wife Allison and her son Adam Fintak.

Esposito is no stranger to being the target of an investigation. In 1990, the state auditor accused Esposito and County Auditor Joe Decourcy of bypassing the board of revision and lowering property taxes of friends and political allies....referred to in code as "Friends of Joe."

The Ohio State Auditor determined that Esposito and Decourcy lowered the property taxes on 1600 properties from 1987 to 1990. He claimed the two improperly granted more than $29-million in property value reductions. "We always felt it was legal to help the taxpayer when they came in here and not run them through a Board of Revision if it wasn't necessary."

Decourcy faced a 190 count indictment but worked out a plea deal and avoided jail time. Esposito was acquitted of misdemeanors after acting as his own attorney.

For a few years, Esposito focused on his career as a lounge singer. But in 2001 was back working at the sheriff's office. In 2002 was made property room supervisor. Until today's arrest, that was not widely known. Now it's widely questioned. "This is the Hamilton County Republican party looking after its own. That's got to end and frankly it is ending. As the county becomes more and more bi-partisan you will see less and less of this because there's no room for it any more."

The investigation into Esposito began 6 months ago, under the previous, Republican sheriff. Esposito has been placed on unpaid administrative leave.

We don't know what was taken from the property room but the sheriff says none of the property involved would impact any upcoming prosecutions.

All three suspects were taken to jail last night but have posted bond and were released.

Allison Esposito is accused of stealing from the Hamilton County Sheriff Department property room. Hamilton County Sheriff, WKRC-TV

Adam Fintak is accused of stealing from the Hamilton County SHeirff Departments Property room. Hamilton County Sheriff, WKRC-TV

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