Governor John Kasich has been under fire for deferred payment he received from a central Ohio company after taking office. Members of the Ohio Democratic Party allege a conflict of interest connected to money Governor John Kasich received from Worthington Industries while in office. Kasich served on the company’s board of directors and chose to receive deferred compensation.
Opponents also claimed a conflict of interest since two Worthington Industries subsidiaries received tax credits from the state in the past two years. The companies received these credits after a recommendation from JobsOhio… the non-profit job development agency created by Kasich.
On Thursday the Ohio Ethics Commission discussed both disputes.
The state panel says there’s no conflict of interest connected to the deferred payment Kasich received from Worthington Industries because he was getting money for work he had performed for the company before taking office.
The commission says there’s ethics precedent in this matter which goes back to a Governor Ted Strickland appointee in 2009.
As for the tax credits, the commission found no potential conflict of interest because the Ohio Tax Credit Authority is independent from the governor’s office.
Kasich says the allegations are purely political and adds that JobsOhio only considers moves that would create jobs and prior relationships don’t fall into the equation.
“The fact of the matter is—whether it’s a friend or whether it’s a foe—if they’re going to create jobs and the incentives that are necessary to encourage them are in the bounds of reason and reflect a proper return on investment we want to do it,” says Kasich.
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, who’s running for governor, accuses cronyism and self-dealing at JobsOhio. He says the issues are unethical and should be illegal.