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Feds subpoenaed Cleveland records related to Kirtland couple involved in demolition work

September 11, 2018

Feds subpoenaed Cleveland records related to Kirtland couple involved in demolition work

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Federal authorities subpoenaed records from the city of Cleveland in July about a Lake County couple as part of an investigation involving the demolition of buildings in the city, according to records obtained by cleveland.com.

The July 26 grand jury subpoena, issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the IRS, sought records pertaining to Joseph and Gwen Tucceri, as well as companies affiliated with the couple. They include JTS Machinery & Supply in Mentor, R-Demolition in Wickliffe and Ohio National Services & Disposal in Cleveland.

The subpoena (which you can read here or at the bottom of this story) instructed the city to turn over the documents by Aug. 21.

It was not immediately clear what connection the subpoena had to other recent investigations that involved the city of Cleveland. However, thousands of pages records turned over to the grand jury in response to the subpoena show that companies affiliated with the Tucceris, who live in Kirtland, demolished or performed other demolition-related work on numerous homes across the city.

Neither of the Tucceris have been charged with a crime.

Rufus Taylor, a retired demolition bureau chief for the city, pleaded guilty Sept. 4 to extortion and bribery in a federally funded program. He took thousands of dollars in bribes from two contractors and gave them preferential treatment for government-funded demolition and abatement projects.

The records the city provided in response to the subpoena do not appear to pertain to any of the projects identified in Taylor’s charging documents. Federal authorities have not identified the two contractors suspected of paying Taylor bribes.

Cleveland criminal defense attorney Mark DeVan confirmed Tuesday that he represents Gwen Tucceri, but declined comment on any pending investigation.

Joseph Tucceri, through an employee at JTS, declined comment. Messages left for his attorney were not immediately returned.

The city said it does not discuss ongoing litigation. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office also declined comment.

The subpoena requested all records pertaining to transactions involving the Tucceris and the aforementioned companies between Jan. 1, 2014 and Jan. 1 of this year.

Cleveland.com obtained the subpoena and records the city turned over to federal authorities through a public records request for subpoenas, search warrants or requests for information sent between Jan. 1, 2013 and Aug. 24 of this year related to Taylor and the city’s Building & Housing department.

The subpoena and responsive records are the only things the city provided in response to the request.

Taylor’s lawyer Michael Peterson said last week that his client’s plea agreement included a calculation that would likely lead to a recommended sentence of between 37 and 46 months in federal prison. Prosecutors are also seeking a fine of $3,925, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Chelsea Rice said at Taylor’s plea hearing that the money is already in the FBI’s possession.

If you would like to comment on this story, please visit Tuesday’s crime and courts comments section.

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