JobsOhio Update

Easy to understand

 

April 15 This Week [Licking County] Community News, of which the Dispatch is the parent company, reports “Etna Township fails To Comply With Records Request” by Lori Wince. Significant within the article are several facts:

“The records were requested under Section 149.43 of the Ohio Revised Code, which explains how public records must be made available for review: “Upon request and subject to division (B)(8) of this section, all public records responsive to the request shall be promptly prepared and made available for inspection to any person at all reasonable times during regular business hours.”” and

“Etna Township was sued in 2006 when its trustees denied public records to a man because he would not identify himself.

The trustees and their insurer were to pay $10,000 to cover the legal bills of “John Q. Public,” who sued anonymously after then-Trustee Paul George ordered him from township offices when he identified himself only as a “concerned citizen” while seeking meeting minutes, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

The case before the Ohio Supreme Court was dismissed after attorneys for the township and the plaintiff agreed to a settlement, which included acknowledging that anyone can review records without identifying themselves, according to the Dispatch.” Easy enough to understand.

 

Not so easy to understand

 

April 16 Columbus Dispatch This Week Community news Joe Vardon reports “JobsOhio Pays Back $8.4 Million To State”. Bear in mind that JobsOhio is a public private partnership (see this blog’s April 11, 2013 post). Significant to note is that Vardon bothers to point out that “New Development Services Agency spokeswoman Lyn Tolan verified the amounts to The Dispatch today – responding to a public records request filed by the newspaper more than one month ago.” (during which time the state’s Auditor Dave Yost claimed a right to look) The necessity to respond was in the sums the state received, on account of the Ohio Revised Code’s obligation to provide record of  state grants repaid NOT from JobsOhio (which maintains its privilege of privacy). Vardon artfully weaves the convoluted web of funding that maintained JobsOhio in its first year primarily through a wholly owned subsidiary (only natural for a corporate structuring). In 2004 the Taft administration formed the Ohio Business Development Coalition (state funded). As Vardon puts it “The majority of JobsOhio’s public money – nearly $6.8 million — came from grants from the state to JobsOhio’s wholly owned subsidiary, the little-known JobsOhio Beverage System.” The Ohio Business Development Coalition became the wholly owned subsidiary (JobsOhio Beverage System) one day after JobsOhio came into being. Unlike the name change, what remained was the grant funding already in place before JobsOhio was formed. A valuable acquisition indeed! The Dispatch article concludes with: “The $6.8 million in grants, coupled with the $6.9 million in private donations, helped JobsOhio operate until a complicated lease of the state’s wholesale liquor profits could be completed, a transaction expected to generate about $100 million a year for JobsOhio. 

The grant contract with JobsOhio Beverage System was terminated on Jan. 31 — the day before JobsOhio gained access to the state liquor profits.” Not so easy to understand, except that the money made available through grants and now ultimately from the state’s liquor monopoly is public. Such large sums must be necessary so that the private (and thus undisclosed) salaries of top management at JobsOhio can be competitive with that of their peers at Wall Street firms like John Kasich’s former employer (the now defunct Lehman Brothers), or Goldman Sachs, etc. Something to watch for but for which the public doesn’t have the right to look.

 

 

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