Campbell police, workers squabble over water


CAMPBELL, Ohio (WKBN) — As Odyssey Environmental employees Leonard Villers and Phillip Stratus took their turns standing before a judge pleading “not guilty” to theft and tampering with a public utility, the company’s attorney insisted the blame being placed on the two is the result of what he calls a “paperwork snafu.”

“All that was happening was the city of Campbell’s storm sewers were being cleaned by Odyssey, per the contract that they have,” Odyssey Attorney Scott Essad said. “The paperwork trail is not the best, but that’s not my client’s fault.”

Both men were arrested Saturday after police say they were caught drawing water from a fire hydrant on Wilson Avenue.

Villers and Stratus were released after posting bond.

The men claimed they needed the water for cleaning and repairing catch basins, as approved by the city’s Director of Administration.

“She ordered the work to be done by giving my clients a post-it note in her handwriting directing them to do the work,” Essad said.

Essad even showed reporter Gerry Ricciutti copies of what he says were similar notes for similar projects, but not for the work reportedly being done on Saturday…

“No permission was granted to anyone, at anytime, to hook up to a city fresh water fire hydrant,” Campbell Police Chief Drew Rauzan said.

Rauzan said he wants the Ohio EPA to help with the case, saying he has concerns with Odyssey connecting a sewage-hauling truck to the hydrant.

“There’s back flow issues, there’s contamination issues, there’s issues of water that we all have to drink on a daily basis, and that they had a poop truck tied directly into this fire hydrant,” Rauzan said.

While both men are due back in court in September, the company’s lawyer said he will file papers to retrieve the waste truck that was impounded. The chief said the truck is evidence and is not going anywhere just yet.

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