One of John Kasich’s very first cabinet appointments was Mark Kvamme, a venture capitalist from California, appointed to lead the Department of Development. He was soon replaced by Jim Leftwich when his appointment was challenged for being unconstitutional.
Kvamme moved to Kasich’s staff and quickly began developing what would become known as JobsOhio: a private development organization that would replace the Department of Development. JobsOhio would be funded with state money but would not have any of the transparency or accountability requirements of a state agency. Kvamme was eventually appointed to lead JobsOhio and, since taking over, has been fighting to get that state money in the form of liquor revenue, which he planned to bond out to pay the state a fee and keep the rest for operating JobsOhio.
Again, the constitutionality of JobsOhio’s funding plan was challenged by ProgressOhio. As we pointed out yesterday, as long as the constitutional goes unresolved, the bond market would be unwilling to buy the liquor bonds, and the whole complicated plan would fall apart.
Kasich and Kvamme tried a number of different legal maneuvers to get the money flowing, and resolve the constitutional issues, but they were dealt a serious blow last week when the Supreme Court refused to hear their case intended to speed up the process.
We wondered out loud what Kasich might possibly do next, but I don’t any of us guessed this: Mark Kvamme, the guy who came up with the brilliant idea for a private development organization funded with state money, just announced he’s leaving JobsOhio to start his own venture capital firm.
This can not be good news for what the Dispatch called the “centerpiece of the administration of Gov. John Kasich”.
UPDATE: Joe Vardon from the Dispatch reports that John Minor, a managing director already with JobsOhio, will replace Kvamme. Not surprisingly, JobsOhio isn’t revealing any information about the process it used to make this choice. According to Vardon: “It’s unclear when Kvamme notified JobsOhio’s board of his plans, when the board conducted the ‘extensive executive search’ it cited in the news release, or when the board decided on Minor.”