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Illegal Gambling Uncovered Among School Bus Drivers in Ohio

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An illegal gambling activity has been uncovered among employees of the Fort Hayes Bus Compound in Ohio.

Amidst the stories of large police operations in Asia to bust illegal gambling rings, American gambling news reporting about a school bus supervisor running a betting circle seems like a truly unique occurrence. However unbelievable it may seem, the story is actually true: a Columbus, Ohio, schools transportation system supervisor has been found running a gambling ring collecting money from bus drivers.

Evelyn Burge-Dehl, the supervisor in question, has already been suspended for 10 days without pay for assisting in running a gambling ring, contradicting American gambling laws. The Fort Hayes Bus Compound employee has admitted to local investigators that she was aware of the ongoing gambling activities. She has not only collected and held the money, but participated herself and actually won prizes.

This was outlined in the district documents submitted before an administrative hearing on her case. The news only came out this week after the district investigators released the information.

What gambling was actually going down

The way bus drivers were gambling was they bought scratch tickets, similar to those of instant-lottery cards. One part of the raised funds was targeted to print T-shirts for the drivers, which Burge-Dehl failed to report to her supervisors.

On top of the 10 day suspension without pay, district officials have also given Burge-Dehl a warning that “further inappropriate behaviors” will bring more dire consequences and administrative action up to being fired. Top official Steve Simmons, and all other employees of the transportation system connected to investigation, were cleared of any misconducted and returned to work immediately.

Top official’s role

Steve Simmons, the highest ranking official at the Fort Hayes Bus Compound, was accused of failing to supervise his employees and has been subjected to an administrative hearing. The examination panel concluded that he was not aware of the illegal gambling activities. He actually ordered that the supervisor involved in the case was disciplined after he did find out. 
The hearing panel stated that Simmons “demonstrated leadership, appropriate responsiveness and promptness in reacting.”

A gambling ring among school bus drivers has been uncovered in Ohio

• Bus compound supervisor was found to be breaking American gambling laws
• Scratch-card type tickets were sold to raise funds for drivers’ t-shirts
• Supervisor in question received 10 day suspension and a warning

According to the panel’s findings, it was also not reasonable to hold Simmons accountable for an operation where bus drivers are washing vehicles belonging to other drivers for money. Another side of this activity is where the drivers are selling snacks at bus compounds and collecting all proceeds to go towards the year-end picnic and other employee-related causes. 

The investigative hearing concluded that these activities are nothing out of the ordinary and have, in fact, been going on for over 20 years.

Administrative hearing’s conclusions

The panel has cleared four other transportation hub employees from any wrong-doing allowing them to return to work without punishment:

1. Supervisor Willie Wheeless was not found to have any part in the gambling activities, except trying to settle a dispute about the winnings, which arose between Burge-Dehl and a driver

2. Carlene Bussey, transportation-operations manager and second-in-command to Simmons, has demonstrated leadership after uncovering the gambling ring and notifying Simmons as well as the district Employee Relations office

3. Supervisors Michelle Brooks and Judy Collmar were not found to have done anything inappropriate in relation to the employee stores and selling of snacks

Related case

About a month ago, another employee of the Fort Hayes Bus Compound, Veoletta Svarda had to be moved to a desk job at her own request after she has reported the gambling activities. She said she was fearing that her co-workers have tampered with the equipment on her bus. She reported she found an oily liquid around one tire, which looked like brake fluid.

Svarda also said that the former union president, still a high-ranking official, has threatened her after he found out she has share the information about the ongoing gambling activities with the authorities. It is said Svarda will return to her normal job as a driver when the school term resumes this autumn.

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