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Ohio EPA Employee Ran Real Estate Biz During Working Hours

Phil Hall
Feb 05, 2016

In what could be charitably defined as multitasking gone awry, an employee of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) is under investigation for running a side business that purchased distressed real estate business while he was supposed to be doing his state work.

According to a Cleveland.com report, Edwin Perez, an environmental specialist at the Agency's Northeast District Office (NEDO), is being investigated for clicking on real estate Web sites more than 3,500 times during his office hours and making more than 700 phone calls in six months that were not related to OPEA activities. When initially confronted about this by his employer, Perez acknowledged that he owned 13 real estate properties and frequently purchased distressed houses that he repaired and rented out. Perez’s job involved reviewing air permits and inspecting facilities that are issued compliance permits, which cancels any excuse that his personal real estate ventures shared common ground with his OEPA duties.

OEPA’s employee guidelines do not allow employees to conduct personal business on state-owned phones and computers. NEDO Assistant District Chief Jennifer Kurko acknowledged that Perez’s activities became known after his co-workers reported that he was spending a large amount of time on his personal cellphone while turning out a low quantity of OEPA-related work. The Agency’s inspector general has recommended that Perez's superiors determine whether his actions warrant administrative action or retraining. 

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