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The Inmates Busted for Drinking at the Governor’s Mansion Were Also There The Night of Called Off Drug Sting

June 1st, 2010 Matt View Comments

From Andrew Welsh-Huggins AP report from before the Memorial Day weekend:

The future of an Ohio program that allows low-risk inmates to work at the governor’s official residence, a practice that has been in place for decades but has come under intense scrutiny this year, is now in jeopardy after two inmates were found to be drinking there.

The outcome of a review ordered by Gov. Ted Strickland will determine whether the program continues, spokeswoman Amanda Wurst said Friday.

“The continuation of the program does depend on what the external review finds, so there is a possibility the program could end,” Wurst told The Associated Press.

The review follows the discovery Thursday that two inmates who spent the day working at the residence had been drinking. And it comes days after the state Senate denied confirmation of Stickland’s nominee as public safety chief, who was found to have called off a planned sting in January after inmates were suspected of using their mansion jobs to smuggle tobacco into prison.[...]

Strickland said Friday he believes one of the inmates accused of drinking, Nicholas Hoaja, might have done to sabotage his chances for release.

Hoaja had a blood-alcohol level of 0.27 percent and had to be treated at the Ohio State University hospital later Thursday, prisons spokeswoman Julie Walburn said.

A prison worker picking up four inmates at the end of their shift at the governor’s residence Thursday noticed Hoaja acting strangely and contacted authorities when they arrived at the Pickaway Correctional Institution.

An investigation determined Hoaja and a second inmate, Dallas Feazell, had been drinking, and both were tested by patrol officers. Feazell had a blood-alcohol level of 0.53 percent.

I thought Hoaja’s name sounded familiar, and here it is in the Inspector General’s report:

The Governor and First Lady were scheduled to host a dinner that evening for former Ohio Senator John Glenn and his wife, Annie, and Strickland Chief of Staff John Haseley and his 8-year-old daughter. The dinner party was to be staffed by five PCI honor inmates that had been requested by Head Groundskeeper Jones – inmates Ron Reichenbach and Nicholas Hoaja as cooks and inmates Kenneth Dawson, Randy Holycross and Daniel Smith as servers.

As Senator Gillmor wisely pointed out during Senate debate, it is a little scary that John Hasley is such a terrible father that he would bring his daughter to hang around inmates. And if there was any more question about if the smuggled items were drugs or tobacco, both of these inmates with deadly-high blood alcohol levels were already busted on drug charges:

and

When Paul Aker first broke this story at Channel 10, he spoke to the woman who received the politically motivated “knock and talk” to keep her from going through with the crime, and she mentioned drugs, and NOT tobacco.

And more importantly, after oddly insisting that safety protocols not be changed to the inmate program, Gov. Strickland also denied that inmates were drinking, even though they were serving alcohol and there was a case of an inmate falling through a window.

But of course this exposure just politically motivated by an Inspector General and a news media with a hidden agenda!

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