Cuyahoga County

Cleveland firefighter resigns after guilty plea involving Richmond Heights scandal

10/28/2014
Cleveland -- A 20-year Cleveland firefighter admitted Tuesday to helping a former Richmond Heights school official falsify his job background to get a position with the district.

John Cook, 47,  pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of tampering with records and agreed to resign from his position with the city. Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Dick Ambrose placed him on a year of probation. A charge of forgery was dropped in a plea agreement with prosecutors.

As part of the agreement, Cook agreed never again to seek public employment in Cleveland. He earned $55,500, according to a city spokesman.

Cook was indicted in July, and he became the latest involved in the public corruption scandal at Richmond Heights schools. Prosecutors said he helped Richard Muse create documents that showed Muse had the skills and training to become the director of buildings and grounds for Richmond Heights schools.

Prosecutors said Muse lacked those specialized skills, and he would never have been hired without the fake documents.

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