State Auditor Dave Yost has completed his audit of the state’s non profit job creation company, JobsOhio. The report comes after a long fight with state leaders and the legislature. It doesn’t contain any big problems but it doesn’t say everything has been handled correctly either.
“This has been a difficult audit. And you know, there was some arm wrestling along the way," says Yost.
When Ohio Supreme Court Justice Paul Pfeifer lamented the courts' seeming lack of jurisdiction over Republican Gov. John Kasich's privatized job-creation board last week, he joined a growing chorus of the frustrated.
State lawmakers created JobsOhio in 2011 in a bill containing sweeping exemptions from public records and ethics laws.
Defenders of the corporate-style setup say JobsOhio files a long list of reports, disclosures and business filings. But it isn't only Kasich's political opponents who have raised concern.
Ohio Supreme Court prepares to hear JobsOhio case.
Credit Karen Kasler, Ohio Public Radio
Governor Kasich’s private job creation entity, JobsOhio, has been at the center of controversy since it began. Because it's partially a private board, it's free from some of the regulations and public scrutiny that government organizations face.
A lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of JobsOhio was brought before the Ohio Supreme Court this week. But as Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler tells Emily McCord, before that decision can be made, the question of who is allowed to sue JobsOhio must be settled first.
Opponents of the nonprofit job-creation entity JobsOhio believe wording in an independent audit provides new ammunition for their legal arguments.
Accounting firm KPMG deemed JobsOhio a "component unit" of the state of Ohio in the financial review released Friday. To plaintiffs in two separate lawsuits against Gov. John Kasich's signature economic program, that's proof JobsOhio is not private but is associated with the government.
That is a key distinction because Ohio's Constitution prohibits a private entity from using public money.
Ohio's ethics agency has warned six of nine directors of public private job creation agency, JobsOhio, that their business interests raise potential conflicts of interest.
The Ohio Ethics Commission identified the six JobsOhio board members, including Chairman James Boland, along with three employees after a routine review of their confidential financial disclosure filings.
A JobsOhio spokeswoman said none of the potential conflicts amounted to anything. She said the board has not played a role in any dealings the flagged companies may have done with the state.