Cincinnati CDC Operations Manager pleads guilty to bribery scheme

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The operations manager for the Cincinnati offices of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from a construction company executive in exchange for awarding construction contracts to the company.

According to court documents, David T. Mersch, 61, formerly of Florence, solicited and accepted cash payments, paid vacations, and payments to third parties for home improvements for his residence from various CDC contractors. One of these contractors was Paul G. McDonald, 70, of Pleasant Hill, California, a corporate officer for Entek.  Mersch admitted taking the payments from 2003 until 2011.

The value of the payments and benefits is reportedly at least $189,181.

Mersch oversaw everything related to the research, maintenance operations, safety, and construction for the three CDC campuses in the Cincinnati area. As part of his duties, he made recommendations for and approved contracts for certain construction and services contracts related to the CDC facilities in Cincinnati.

Mersch pleaded guilty on July 19 to one count of bribery. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Mersch on January 19, 2012. Mersch faces up to 15 years in prison.

McDonald pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of bribery. His sentencing date has not been scheduled.

The US Attorney's Office says the investigation is ongoing.

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