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FTA Debars Former Executive Director of Ohio Transportation Nonprofit

On April 2, 2018, FTA debarred Denise Birt, former executive director of the Tri-County Community Action Commission (TCCAC), for a period of 36 months. Birt had obtained an unauthorized mortgage of $275,000 against a FTA-funded property, on which she and TCCAC later defaulted. TCCAC is a nonprofit organization that provided transportation services in Shelby, Champaign, and Logan Counties, OH.

The investigation revealed that TCCAC received approximately $2,720,658 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds from FTA, which were used to purchase and renovate an administrative and maintenance facility in Bellefontaine, Ohio. On October 30, 2012, Birt and Robert Notestine, TCCAC’s board chairman, obtained a $275,000 mortgage loan from Liberty National Bank (Liberty), which was secured by a mortgage lien on the TCCAC facility. To obtain the mortgage, Birt misrepresented the title of record to the property and provided an erroneous deed. Furthermore, Birt gave herself an unauthorized salary increase—an extra $74,585.54 over several years. Subsequently, TCCAC defaulted on the loan, and Liberty filed a lawsuit to foreclose on the property.

DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the Logan County, Ohio, Prosecutor’s Office and the Office of the Ohio State Auditor.

Note: A suspension or debarment frequently covers a specific period of time. Please consult the System for Award Management to determine whether a company or individual is currently suspended or debarred.