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Two veteran Cleveland Metroparks managers overseeing the Rocky River Reservation “misappropriated” about $1,200 in scrap metal money that wasn’t deposited in a park account, a park official said.

As a result, Metroparks spokeswoman Jane Christyson said park manager Keith Kessler, 54, of Medina and grounds maintenance administrative assistant Penny Darwish, 56, of Cleveland have been placed on administrative leave pending firing or resignation.

Christyson said employees finding scrap metal on park grounds are under obligation to sell it to a scrap vendor, then they are required to take the receipt and cash to the park manager or another administrator. Metal includes anything recyclable, including cans left by park visitors or metal discarded by Metroparks shop workers.

The administrator then documents the proceeds and takes the cash to the park district’s treasurer’s office where it is deposited into a Metroparks bank account.

She said that after a two-month investigation, park officials found that Kessler, a 27-year employee, and Darwin, a 28-year employee, received around $1,200 in cash for the scrap metal but did not deposit it with the treasurer’s office.

“All we can say at this point is the money did not go in the treasurer’s office where it was supposed to go,” Christyson said. “We don’t know what they did with the money.”

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