Former CODE president pleads not guilty

Diana Frey
Diana Frey

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The former president of the Cincinnati Organized and Dedicated Employees (CODE) union pled not guilty during her arraignment Thursday afternoon on one count of wire fraud.

For many CODE members, it was the first time they had seen Frey in months.

"She was cold like she normally is and didn't have a concern about anybody but herself," member Chris Oser said.

"I didn't even want to look at her actually because of what she's done," CODE board member Jeff Ventre said.

Now Second Vice President of CODE, Ventre joined fellow board members Thursday to show solidarity in seeking justice.

"We want what was taken from us given back," Ventre said.

"I felt like she should face some of the people she stole money from," Oser argued.

Inside the court room where cameras were not allowed, Frey sat with her back to those members who silently listened to the proceedings.

"A part of me would have liked to have said 'What the heck were you thinking? Why did you do this? Why did you turn your back on everybody you said you protected?" admitted Oser.

"This was an absolute slap in the face from all of those members," Ventre said.

Diana Frey is accused of taking $757,000 in CODE funds. If convicted, she faces 20 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.

Judge Stephanie Bowman ordered substance abuse and mental health evaluation and encouraged Frey to maintain or seek employment, but Frey has to notify potential employers of her charges. She was ordered not to leave southern Ohio and surrendered her passport.

The U.S. attorney's office asked for an own recognizance bond for Frey and requested she be placed with an electronic monitoring device. The judge denied the monitoring device for Frey.

Frey had not been heard from by fellow CODE members since several days before the indictment was handed down on July 20. Judge Bowman ordered her not to talk to her fellow CODE members or victims.

Any new motions have to be filed by attorneys by August 12th. The final pre-trial conference is set for September 21st, and a trial date is set for October 3rd with Chief Judge Susan J. Dlott.

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