JobsOhio Funding Questioned - WCMH: News, Weather, and Sports for Columbus, Ohio

JobsOhio Funding Questioned

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -

Tensions are growing over access to the private financial books of JobsOhio, a nonprofit entity created by Ohio Gov. John Kasich to lure jobs to the state. State Auditor Dave Yost has given JobsOhio until March 19 to produce the records after JobsOhio declined to volunteer the documents.

The governor told reporters today it was "a little disagreement over how we should proceed."

"I think the thing is they want to audit more than public money," Kasich said. "Let me give you an example: So a company gets a workforce training grant and that should be audited, but you don't want to go in and audit the private books of the private industry by the state auditor – that's beyond his authority."

Yost said JobsOhio's private bond proceeds all trace back to public money.

"It's important to look at the total picture," Yost said after his office issued a subpoena to JobsOhio demanding financial statements, bank statements, ledgers and other records. 

Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said Thursday that Yost has "clear authority" to audit public funds going to JobsOhio and the administration is requesting that he do that. Nichols said Yost's legal authority to audit its private dollars needs legal clarification.

Democrats on the budget-writing House Finance Committee asked JobsOhio to appear before the development subcommittee amid reports that JobsOhio may have spent several million dollars in taxpayer funds beyond the $1 million authorized by the General Assembly.

State Rep. John Carney (D-Columbus) said JobsOhio now needs to demonstrate that money has not been spent inappropriately.

"If, in fact, the executive, without the approval of the legislature, has expended dollars that the legislature did not authorize - then we have real concern about whether or not someone has done something that frankly violated the laws of the State of Ohio," Carney said.

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