Convicted felon made $90,000 off government contracts - News, Weather & Sports

Convicted felon made $90,000 off government contracts

Christopher Scheitlin working security. Christopher Scheitlin working security.
Christopher Scheitlin talking to Troubleshooter Eric Flack. Christopher Scheitlin talking to Troubleshooter Eric Flack.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A WAVE 3 Troubleshooter Investigation discovered the owner of a Louisville security company racked up more than $90,000 in taxpayer contracts despite multiple arrests on a variety of criminal charges.

Maybe it is his smile that gets Christopher Scheitlin hired by people who handle taxpayers' money.

When we tracked him down to ask some tough questions, all Scheitlin wanted to talk about was the weather. "It is definitely a beautiful day today," he said.

We uncovered a much less sunny picture of Scheitlin. Turns out, he has a criminal history that includes theft of labor, impersonating a police officer and forging documents to get government contracts.

Michael Gritton, Executive Director of Kentuckiana Works, one of the government agencies that signed off on Scheitlin, said there is no reason those charges would have set off any red flags. "Our job is to follow the cities' process," Gritton said.

The process before signing a government contract with a private company is to check with the Louisville Metro Revenue Commission and the federal government's Excluded Parties List System. It looks at tax records and business practices but not criminal backgrounds.

That may be why the Kentucky State Fair Board paid Scheitlin's company, Professional Link, more than $31,000 to do security at the 2011 Kentucky State Fair, even though Scheitlin was under indictment for impersonating a police officer and perjury, both felonies. At the time, Scheitlin was also charged with carrying a gun while working security at a local club without an armed security license.

Jefferson County Public Schools put Scheitlin on its payroll, too. The school system paid him more than $9,000 to provide security at a training center for its teachers. Scheitlin even did a deal with the federal government.

Gritton's program paid Scheitlin more than $1,200 in taxpayer money to hire welfare recipients working to stay off the streets even as Scheitlin worked to stay out of jail.

"I do not think this was an irresponsible use of taxpayer money," Gritton said.

Gritton said the situation with Scheitlin was an isolated incident and the checks and balances used by local government to hire private companies usually work.

It did not for the Louisville Metro Housing Authority. LMHA paid Scheitlin's company more than $47,000 to provide armed security at Dosker Manor Public Housing Complex. Only Scheitlin's armed security license was revoked months earlier because of all his criminal charges.

LMHA found out, fired Scheitlin, then filed more criminal charges against him for faking the license. Kentuckiana Works eventually gave Scheitlin the boot as well when some of those welfare recipients he got paid to hire said their paychecks bounced. Meanwhile JCPS terminated Scheitlin's contract when he did not show up for 34 straight days.

But in June, Scheitlin was back on the job, this time with approval from Louisville Metro Government. Scheitlin was hired by a private company to do security at Louisville Metro's Waterfront Park for the SoulFood Festival.

Codes and Regulations Director Jim Mimms said it probably was not a good idea to let a convicted felon run security for more than 10,000 people on city property just weeks after a Jefferson County judge ordered Scheitlin not to do security as a condition of his probation.

But no one from the city noticed Scheitlin's name on the original event application since it was changed to a different company's name on the security permit. Despite all of his problems, Scheitlin told me his future is bright.

"You know it's a beautiful day," he kept repeating.

After all, his criminal record has not seemed to slow him down so far.

Documents uncovered by the Troubleshooter revealed Scheitlin is currently on the list of bidders for a security contract with the Louisville Water Company. A spokesperson for the Kentucky State Fair Board Board has yet to respond to questions about whether Scheitlin is scheduled to do security at the Kentucky State Fair again this year.

Copyright 2012 WAVE News. All rights reserved.

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