Comment: Can someone please explain to me why the ...

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Can someone please explain to me why the ...

following civil matter is being handled in criminal court?

Lindale Golf Club in Clermont County's Monroe Township is billed as "traditional golf at its best," but federal authorities say it was purchased in anything but a traditional way.

A former officer of General Cable Corp., based in Highland Heights, is alleged in a federal indictment to have taken kickbacks used to buy and operate the course.

Sharon Highlander, 45, of Augusta pleaded not guilty this week in U.S. District Court in Covington to one count of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to launder money, charges that could send her to prison for up to 20 years.

Highlander, who is free on her own recognizance, couldn't be reached Friday for comment. General Cable fired her in November 2004, according to court records. A spokeswoman for the multinational company that manufactures copper, aluminum and fiber-optic cable declined to comment.

As the chief information officer for the company for about two years, Highlander demanded that an information technology company give her kickbacks in exchange for doing business with General Cable, according to the indictment.

General Cable paid AGEM Enterprises International $3.5 million for technology support while Highlander worked there, according to the indictment.

Federal agents claim AGEM then paid $916,666 to another company to purchase the 18-hole golf course. AGEM transferred another $374,500 to a second company formed to manage the course, according to the indictment.

Highlander and AGEM's owner formed both companies, according to the indictment.

The name of the owner of AGEM was not listed in the indictment and court records didn't indicate who now owns the golf course. The Clermont County Auditor's Office Web site lists the owner as 1805 Linnick Farm Inc.

Highlander "demanded" kickbacks in order for AGEM to continue to do business with General Cable, according to the indictment. It stated the contract between the two was very favorable to AGEM.

Among the services AGEM provided was telephone support, according to the indictment.