Hicks requests probe into possible forged signature

WARREN — Police Chief Eric Merkel sent a letter to the Attorney General’s Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation requesting a criminal investigation into whether a signature on a water department contract is a forgery.

Merkel on May 23 wrote BCI Special Agent James Ciotti stating Warren Law Director Gregory Hicks sent the police department a letter asking it or Ohio BCI “to determine whether his (Hicks) signature was forged on a city contract pertaining to the water department.”

Merkel made the request to BCI for assistance to investigate the potentially criminal matter “to avoid any appearance of impropriety,” the letter states.

On Friday, Hicks said the possible forgery was discovered within the last 45 days and it may have taken place within the last four months. Hicks said the document in question was not always in the law department’s hands.

Hicks and Merkel declined to comment further because of the pending investigation.