Governor John Kasich claims he’s waiting for the results of the KPMG study before making a decision about whether to lease or bond against the Ohio Turnpike, but documents obtained by Plunderbund indicate the decision was made long before KPMG ever started work.

According to an email sent March 25, 2012, Spencer Wood, CIO of the Ohio Department of Transportation, told a consultant that ODOT was planning a “hostile takeover” of the Ohio Turnpike and unionized employees would “be laid off and replaced”.

Portions of the email, sent by a Gartner consultant, are shown below.  The email summarizes a discussion she had with Wood over lunch.

 

Spencer –
I hope all is well? It was great catching up with you last week. I appreciate you taking time out of your day to fill Ed and me in on what you are currently focused on (and I thoroughly enjoyed Tommy’s!). I want to ensure I captured everything that we discussed. Below, I have summarized our discussion and plan.

 

Discussion Notes:

 

M&A – Ohio passed legislation that gave the State DOT legal authority to take over the Turnpike (which is currently a separate entity) or to lease it out to someone. This will essentially be similar to a hostile takeover as the teamsters now currently control the turnpike and will likely be laid off and replaced by State union or private employees. Problems are already popping up with the teamsters acting hostile to State employees. The DOT has legal authority to go in and take it over to clean things up and ready it for leasing. The RFP for leasing will be ready to go by the end of ’11 or at the latest by March ’12. They are using an independent consultant to value the tpke and help them ready it for leasing.

 

Some points of clarification:

  • The “independent consultant” mentioned in the email is KPMG, the consulting firm conducting Kasich’s $3.4 Million, state-funded “Opportunity Analysis” of the Turnpike.
  • The Teamsters Union  represents all Turnpike employees, including Toll Booth and Maintenance employees.
  • “M&A” typically refers to Mergers and Acquisitions.
 

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