Arkansas school consultant faces charges

(June 11, 2004) - (Columbus, Ohio-AP) -- A consultant evaluating Arkansas school facilities is involved in an ethics investigation in Ohio. The Ohio Ethics Commission has accused a contractor of illegally providing golf, meals and lodging to Randall A- Fisher - the former head of Ohio's school-construction program. Earlier this year, Fischer was named program manager of a ten million-dollar assessment of Arkansas' 57-hundred public school buildings. The commission filed a criminal charge of conflict of interest yesterday against Rhode Island-based Gilbane Building Company. The complaint said officers and employees of Gilbane provided more than one-thousand dollars in gifts from 1997 to 2002 while Gilbane received more than eleven million dollars worth of unbid school-construction work approved by Fischer. The first-degree misdemeanor carries a potential fine of up to five-thousand dollars. Gilbane has pleaded innocent. Fischer resigned from the Ohio School Facilities Commission in 2002 and pleaded no contest last July to a pair of misdemeanor ethics charges and was fined 12-hundred-50 dollars plus court costs.