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Doug Evans Gets 21-Month Sentence; Attorney Says Jail Not 'A Foregone Conclusion'

Evans' attorney Ben Dusing is appealing and says, "I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that he's going to prison yet."
Ann Thompson
Evans' attorney Ben Dusing is appealing and says, "I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that he's going to prison yet."

An appeals court will now decide if the sentence given to the owner of Evans Landscaping is fair. U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett temporarily stayed Doug Evans' 21-month sentence for defrauding the city of Cincinnati and the state of Ohio by unlawfully landing millions of dollars worth of contracts meant for small and minority-owned businesses.

Before learning he would spend more than a year and a half in prison, receive three years probation and have to pay $50,000 in fines, Evans stood before Judge Barrett and expressed remorse. "I did not intend to hurt anyone," he said. "I'm sorry for the negative impact of the entire case on my friends, employees and my family."

There was a lengthly delay in court Tuesday as the defense tried to play a video it produced. For nearly an hour, court personnel worked on it until it was fixed. In the 70-minute video, Evans' supporters described him as a "big teddy bear," "honest," "a man of character," and sometimes, "misunderstood." At times Evans silently sobbed while watching it.

During the hearing, Defense Attorney Ben Dusing argued for probation, saying, "We are sentencing the American dream," and criticized sentencing guidelines as too harsh. "There's no such thing as cookie-cutter justice."

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Mangan said Evans "stepped on the little guy" and "steamrolled people." He bristled at Dusing's implication that putting Evans in prison would put his 300 employees in jeopardy.

After the sentencing, Dusing told the media it's unclear how long an appeal will take and he's not even sure his client will get prison time. "I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that he's going to prison yet. So I'll leave it at that."

One person who hopes Evans will be spending time behind bars is Greg Spring of Spring Demolition. He spoke in court on how his company was eliminated from the competition by the illegal acts of Evans, telling WVXU, "Evans made off with millions and almost put me and my competitors out of business."

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With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.