The bizarre case of Duane Hurley and Daniel Kovarbasich
Duane Hurley lived alone in the two-level home that he had grown up in on Ronald Drive. The youngest of seven siblings, he had lived with his mother and provided care for her until 2008, when she moved into an assisted living facility for the elderly. At one point Hurley underwent surgery on both knees, which severely limited his mobility. As a result of his physical impairment, he often paid young people in his neighborhood to do chores for him.
According to those who knew him, Hurley had a passion for tropical fish and die cast cars. Although he was struggling financially, Hurley remained generous toward others. His primary assets consisted of his house and two cars—a Corvette and a Prowler—both of which he had purchased with cash during better times.
It turned out, however, that Duane Hurley had spent time in jail for corruption while working for the city of Avon Lake, located 11 miles due north of North Ridgeville. In his capacity as an Avon Lake city employee who helped with the care and maintenance of the city's buildings as a special services supervisor, Hurley was also responsible for overseeing the work of people convicted of criminal offenses who were sentenced to varying lengths of community service and also helped with the maintenance of the city's buildings and grounds. Many of the offenders cut grass and picked up trash as part of their community service duties. Part of Hurley's job included scheduling their work days and hours, maintaining attendance records, evaluating their job performance, and reporting the information to the court and other authorities, such as probation officers.
However, at one point Hurley was allegedly reported for taking bribes from the criminal offenders so they could get out of performing their duties and "to make it seem as though people had fulfilled their community service requirements," according to Lorain County Prosecutor Gregory White. It was also alleged that he was accepting cash from offenders in lieu of their community service work. Hurley pleaded guilty in October 2003 to bribery, theft and falsification of documents, and was sentenced in January 2004 in Lorain County Common Pleas Court to 90 days in jail, three years of probation, 200 hours of community service and a $1,000 fine.
Hurley also coached a baseball team for young people during the period that he worked for the City of Avon Lake. No one reported that he had ever acted inappropriately toward the boys he coached.
At the time of his death, Hurley was retired and living on disability payments.