New county scam alert keeps ‘an eye on your property when you can’t’

Published: Thursday, May 17, 2018 @ 8:23 AM

            Montgomery County Recorder Brandon McClain demonstrates a new fraud alert system that will notify enrolled property owners if changes are made to certain property records. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF
            Chris Stewart
Montgomery County Recorder Brandon McClain demonstrates a new fraud alert system that will notify enrolled property owners if changes are made to certain property records. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF(Chris Stewart)

Scammers could see the 253,000 parcels of real estate in Montgomery County as opportunities to defraud senior citizens and others from their property.

The Montgomery County Recorder’s Office is unveiling an alert system today that will send out an email notification if changes are made to real estate records that might indicate someone trying to fraudulently take control of another’s property.

This year alone, the county has identified six instances where a property deed was transfered out from under a rightful owner. Another six cases of deed or mortgage fraud showed up during 2017, and many more cases are likely undetected, said Brandon McClain, Montgomery County recorder.

“If you don’t have early notice, you’re stuck chasing a ghost,” McClain said. “How are you supposed to catch someone who has a 10-year start?”

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The Fraud Alert Notification System (FANS) will also allow family members living afar to keep tabs on the home of an aging loved one and out-of-state owners to monitor multiple properties.

“It’s going to have specific benefit for our elderly community and also for our investors,” McClain said. “This incentivizes investors to feel comfortable to spend money and invest in Montgomery County. This is oversight without intrusion, this is us keeping an eye on your property when you can’t.”

The FANS service is voluntary and free. Those enrolling can opt to receive an email, a letter or both whenever a deed, a mortgage or a lien is filed on parcels enrolled in the service.

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McClain said deed fraud is typically carried out using a forged quitclaim deed signed with the help of an inept notary who doesn’t verify the identities of bogus signers, or one that is outright unscrupulous.

“Someone would then be perpetrating a fraud on the system by wrongfully assuming title of owner,” he said. “But they are not the true and rightful owner.”

Before becoming the county recorder in March, McClain saw similar cases firsthand as a public defender and Dayton Municipal Court magistrate. Many of those falling prey to the schemes are elderly and living on a fixed income.

“They don’t have resources, they don’t have the funds to hire an attorney to go to court, so that becomes quite a tall mountain to climb,” McClain said.

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A defrauded property owner can expect to spend $2,500-$3,000 to get the mess untangled, McClain said.

“The most frightening thing about deed transfer fraud is that these terrible circumstances cannot be corrected absent a court order, which generally speaking is timely, costly and burdensome,” he said.

On top of a fraudulent deed transfer, perpetrators commonly put the home at further risk by using it as collateral for a loan or rent the property to someone else, McClain said.

Rightful owners often don’t know what’s hit them until hit with a mortgage foreclosure notice.

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Eight other Ohio counties — including Miami and Warren — offer a similar service through a third-party vendor, Property Fraud Alert. The service is based on a search of a property owner’s name, which could be shared by many, or missed due to variations with initials or name changes.

Montgomery County’s system is based on the specific parcel identification number, McClain said. The site was developed over the last several months in-house by Niko Infanto, a county programmer analyst, with contributions from Chris Boyd, Gail Hicks and Melissa Carito.

Fraud Alert Notification System

Voluntary enrollment in the free program begins today.



In person:

Montgomery County Administration Building

Recorder’s Office, 5th Floor

451 W. Third St., Dayton

Kettering seeks $6.9 million police station renovation, addition

Published: Thursday, May 17, 2018 @ 5:00 AM

            The City of Kettering plans to expand and renovate its police department facilities. The existing police facility at the Kettering Government Center will be renovated, and an additional floor will be added for office space for the chief, captains, and administrative staff.
The City of Kettering plans to expand and renovate its police department facilities. The existing police facility at the Kettering Government Center will be renovated, and an additional floor will be added for office space for the chief, captains, and administrative staff.(Contributed)

City leaders are expected to take initial votes Tuesday on a multi-million dollar plan to expand and renovate the police department.

City Manager Mark Schwieterman said Wednesday the estimated cost for the project is $6.9 million.

If council members approve, the existing police facility at the Kettering Government Center will be renovated and an additional floor will be added for office space for the chief, captains, and administrative staff, according to Schwieterman.

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“On Tuesday night at the Kettering City Council meeting, administration will be asking council to approve the appropriation for design services for the renovation of our police department,” he explained.

The design work will be for about $500,000.

“Currently, based on our conceptual renderings and space utilization studies we are anticipating a roughly $6.9 million total project cost,” Schwieterman said.

The latest effort to improve public safety facilities comes on the heels of a multi-million dollar overhaul of the fire department.

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“We’ve gone from a seven station model down to a four station model with our fire department and the last station on Dorothy Lane will be completed later this year,” Schwieterman said. “In total, the fire department project is roughly $30 million for those new stations and the equipment.”

Schwieterman said the police department renovation project planning was part of a two-year analysis that also included a space utilization study.

“Our finance department, once the design is done and we have a schedule put together, will determine whether or not we will utilize our general fund reserves for the project or we go out and issue notes,” he said. “We could do both as well. But we will make that decision after the design is back and we have a little firmer estimate on what the total cost will be.”


If approved by council Tuesday, the city would enter into a design services contract in 2018 and by mid-2019 be ready to put the renovation project out to bid.

“We anticipate because it is a renovation and they will have to work around our existing operations that it will take about 18 months to complete construction,” Schwieterman said. “So, I would say at this point that the earliest we would see a completed product would be in 2021.”

Schwieterman feels an update to the police facility is necessary.

“Certainly, we need some renovations to our police department. It has been a very long-time since we’ve had an overhaul in that facility,” Schwieterman explained. “New HVAC and mechanical equipment is necessary, and we also need to change the space utilization because our police station doesn’t operate in the same manner that it operated 30 years ago.”

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Modernization with an eye towards the future is something he feels will make the new design a benefit to the community.

“So, I think it will be a benefit to the public in that we will bringing some access to the ground level of this plaza. But also, certainly a benefit to our operations as we will build a new station that is built around the way we police today,” Schwieterman said.

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Dayton, county: Big money at stake in census

Published: Monday, May 14, 2018 @ 3:47 PM

A 2010 census questionnaire is pictured FILE PHOTO
A 2010 census questionnaire is pictured FILE PHOTO

Dayton and Montgomery County have established a joint committee to encourage all residents to complete the 2020 census.

Mayor Nan Whaley and Montgomery County Administrator Joe Tuss announced the formation of the Complete Count Committee on Monday, according to a City of Dayton news release.

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The committee will include local leaders, community partners and grassroots groups. It will work to help citizens overcome cultural, economic, linguistic and technology barriers to completing the census and stress to residents the importance of completing the census.

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“We are taking steps now to support a full and accurate count of Dayton and Montgomery County because of its extraordinary importance to our community,” Whaley said in the release. “We want Dayton to be the best-counted city in Ohio, and we encourage our residents to join in the effort.”

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The census determines the number of Congressional districts in each state and helps determine which communities and states receive nearly $700 billion per year in federal and state assistance, according to the release. That funding provides resources including housing, health care, education, and transportation.

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Centerville looking to fill key leadership positions

Published: Saturday, May 12, 2018 @ 10:00 AM

            Jennifer Brumby was recently appointed to the position of human resources manager for the city of Centerville.
Jennifer Brumby was recently appointed to the position of human resources manager for the city of Centerville.(Contributed)

The City of Centerville has the help wanted sign out and is looking to make some new hires and that includes an aggressive search for three key positions including a new police chief.

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Wayne Davis, Centerville city manager, said recently posted positions for police chief, assistant city manager and economic development administrator were made on April 27.

Pay range for these positions include: assistant city manager ($103,000-$135,000), police chief ($99,568-$131,172) and economic development administrator($69,037-$101,525) depending on qualifications.

Davis discussed what the city is looking for and why it is seen as crucial to fill the openings.

“We posted three senior management positions for hiring in the city,” Davis said. “We expect that there will be substantial interest in these positions both internally and outside of the city. Two of these positions are open due to attrition, while the assistant city manager position has been within the city’s Table of Organization and Budget, but has not been filled for several years.”

He added that the eventual new hires will be part of the city’s desire to have a strong leadership and management team.

“These positions are critical for our leadership and management team and to help us with service delivery, the development and support of our business base and the safety and protection of our community,” Davis explained. “To fill these we are looking for unique leaders and professionals who possess values consistent with our community, City Council, staff and partners.”

The positions have a deadline of May 25 for those interested in applying and Davis said the timeline to have them filled will be a quick turnaround.

“We expect to have these positions filled in the July time-frame, which will be just in time for these senior management positions to contribute to the implementation of the city’s 2018-2023 Strategic Plan,” he said.

Former chief Bruce Robertson retired in February. Nathan Cahall left his position as economic development administrator and it became available at posting, April 27, according to Community Resources Coordinator Maureen Russell Hodgson.

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Davis also announced the appointment of Jennifer Brumby to the position of human resources manager, which was another position the city had been actively looking to fill.

Her responsibilities include recruitment, benefits administration, employee relations and personnel policy compliance.

Brumby, an attorney, was previously employed at Poling Law in Beavercreek and Freund, Freeze & Arnold in Dayton, where she specialized in employment, business, family and medical malpractice law.

She was also appointed as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Montgomery County and served in special prosecutions for the office of the Ohio Attorney General.

Her educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in political science from Miami University and she earned a law degree from the University of Toledo.

Brumby fills the position left vacant when Jennifer Wilder accepted a similar position with the City of Oakwood.

Developer weighing options after voters reject Hithergreen plan

Published: Wednesday, May 09, 2018 @ 6:46 PM

            The controversial Hithergreen rezoning issue was handily defeated by voters and two levies a renewal and replacement both passed easily.
The controversial Hithergreen rezoning issue was handily defeated by voters and two levies a renewal and replacement both passed easily.(BREAKING NEWS STAFF)

Washington Twp. voters handily rejected the controversial Hithergreen redevelopment plan while overwhelmingly approving a renewal issue and a replacement levy on Tuesday.

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Washington Twp. trustees in September of 2017 approved a rezoning of the township-owned land at 5900 Hithergreen Drive as part of a deal to sell the property for $250,000 to developer Tom Peebles.

Peebles planned to divide the nearly 15 acres of land into green space and 30 residential lots.

Residents placed Issue 15, a rezoning referendum, on the ballot to prevent the township zoning plan from going through.

Ballot language for the proposed zoning amendment was as follows: “To amend the zoning of the real property located at 5900 Hithergreen Drive which includes approximately 14.889 acres. The existing zoning for the property is R-4, Single-Family Residential. The proposed amendment would zone the property PD-R, Planned Development Residential for a single-family development. Shall the zoning amendment as adopted by Washington Township be approved?”

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, unofficial results from the Montgomery County Board of Elections showed Issue 15 with 5,630 “no” votes and 2,158 “yes” votes.

Resident Brian Feldmeyer said neighbors want the Hithergreen property to become a park and they value green space. He added that the residents opposing the redevelopment were thankful to all the voters in other precincts who also rejected the issue.

“We’ve always used Hithergreen as our green space,” Feldmeyer said. “It was also a statement about zoning changes in Washington Township. We want our elected officials to listen to us. There were always dramatic zoning changes with this issue and we rejected it. We are happy that 3-out-of 4 voters agreed with us.”

Peebles said last week that “on May 9” he would digest the results of the election and think about what his next move on the project would be. He told this news outlet Wednesday that the voters were clear on the issue.

“We will look at what our next move will be and look at what our options are,” Peebles said. “I just don’t know at this point what that will be. We will come up with a plan and go from there.”

Voters approved Issue 17, a 4.65-mill Fire/EMS five-year renewal levy that does not increase tax rates. The levy costs the owner of a $100,000 home $132 per year.

The levy will generate about $7.96 million in the first year and will fund about 68 percent of the fire department’s operating expenses, according to township officials. It will enable the fire department to maintain a positive balance through 2021, according to township officials.

Unofficial results showed Issue 17 passed easily by a count of 10,018 to 3,004 votes.

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Issue 16, a five-year recreation replacement levy that increases the millage from 0.7 to 1 mill, also passed. The annual cost for the owner of a $100,000 home will now rise from a rate of $21.95 to $35, according to Jacqueline Curl, public information manager for the township.

The levy will generate about $640,800 per year in additional revenue, while providing about $1.84 million in the first year, according to township officials. This is the first millage increase in 25 years. Voters approved the original levy in 1988.

The additional revenue now approved, will help the township expand services to senior citizens at the Rec West Enrichment Center, according to township officials.

Officials say senior programming cost $185,000 in 2017, but the current tax millage was established before the township began providing services at Rec West when the township was tasked with adding services after the Hithergreen Center closed.

Issue 16 passed easily, with unofficial results showing it received 7,852 votes to 5,126.