Former VA Official Pleads Not Guilty To Bribery

Jun 21, 2013

The former director of the Veterans Affairs medical center in Cleveland has pleaded not guilty to charges of accepting bribes.

The charges were filed as part of a long-running FBI probe of corruption in Cuayhoga County. Brian Bull of member station WCPN in Cleveland reports.

William Montague served as director of the Cleveland V-A from 1975 to 2010, when he retired. 

He’s accused of soliciting and accepting bribes from contractor Michael Forlani, who himself is serving an eight-year sentence for racketeering and other charges for his illegal dealings with Cuyahoga County.

Forlani was the principal contractor during an extensive, 125-million dollar consolidation of the Cleveland and Brecksville V-A campuses – a project later blasted by the Inspector General’s Office as wasteful and ill advised.

MTobin02: “This is part of the Cuyahoga County corruption investigation.” (:03)

Michael Tobin is a spokesman for the U-S Attorney’s Office in Cleveland.

MTobin01: “Essentially, Mr. Montague is accused of accepting bribes in exchange using his position as the Director of the Cleveland VA Medical Center, to influence business in favor of the people who were giving him money.” (:23)

Specific charges include conspiracy, bribery, wire and mail fraud, money laundering and a variety of other crimes. 

Montague has pleaded not guilty to the charges.  His bond has been set at 100-thousand dollars.  Another hearing will be held Monday.