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Human Relations Council: Minority Business Assistance Center Open For Business

Deb Beatty Mel
Flickr Creative Commons

Dayton officials say the city’s Minority Business Assistance Center remains open for business. Center director RoShawn Winburn is on leave and faces wire fraud and public corruption charges stemming from a federal investigation revealed last week by the Department of Justice.

He’s accused of taking thousands of dollars in bribes and providing confidential information to companies seeking city contracts.

The Minority Business Assistance Center is part of the Dayton Human Relations Council. After a closed-door meeting Monday, director Erica Fields declined to say who’s currently filling in for Winburn or when the council would name an interim director.

“We are working with the state to figure out next steps and to identify appropriate staff, but we are still providing services. So, we are actually working with the Entrepreneurs Center but services will still be provided here at HRC,” she says.

Federal authorities also indicted former Dayton City Commissioner Joey Williams, business owner and former state lawmaker Clayton Luckie, and Dayton businessman Brian Higgins on separate fraud-related charges.

Dayton’s Minority Business Assistance Center is funded through the Ohio Development Services Agency.

"Our focus has been on providing services to customers of the Greater Dayton Minority Business Assistance Center, and we have been working with the City of Dayton as it works on resuming full operations at the center," Todd Walker, spokesperson for the Ohio Development Services Agency, told WYSO.

Messages left with the Dayton city law director have also not been returned.

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Jess Mador comes to WYSO from Knoxville NPR-station WUOT, where she created an interactive multimedia health storytelling project called TruckBeat, one of 15 projects around the country participating in AIR's Localore: #Finding Americainitiative. Before TruckBeat, Jess was an independent public radio journalist based in Minneapolis. She’s also worked as a staff reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio in the Twin Cities, and produced audio, video and web stories for a variety of other news outlets, including NPR News, APM, and PBS television stations. She has a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. She loves making documentaries and telling stories at the intersection of journalism, digital and social media.