Student Center
Credit: Cleveland State University
CSU Student Center

Former, current CSU employees indicted in corruption probe

An Ohio state grand jury has indicted former Cleveland State employee Marlene Gombach for allegedly steering contracts to co-defendants in exchange for bribes. CSU put current employee Sharon Brown on unpaid leave after she was charged with complicity.

Marlene Gombach, project manager in CSU’s Center for Excellence and Innovation in Education from 2013-2016, was indicted by a grand jury along with four others in what prosecutors said was a scheme to steer more than $250,000 in school funds to her relatives.

Judge Richard Bell issued a continuance in Gombach's case until Feb. 24. The four other people charged pleaded not guilty in the case at their arraignment on Feb. 10. The case, filed with the Cuyahoga County Court on Jan. 8, is 655375-20-CR.

Gombach is facing a four-count indictment which includes bribery and having an unlawful interest in a public contract. Sharon Brown, the center’s director, is charged with one felony count of complicity for allegedly aiding or abetting Gombach. CSU has placed Brown on unpaid leave "pending further review," according to a university statement reported by News 5 Cleveland.

Gombach’s son Brendan Gombach, her nephew Peter Matuszewski and her business associate Robert Troxell IV each face a felony bribery charge.

“Ms. Gombach used school funds to fill family members’ pockets while also receiving kickbacks herself,” the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office said in a statement. “They will now be held accountable for their criminal activity.”

CSU said in a statement following the indictments that the university "has a strong culture of compliance, acted on this matter immediately and will continue to hold itself and its employees to the highest standards."