According to recently released records and an investigative piece by the Columbus Dispatch, JobsOhio has received millions of dollars in public funds, far surpassing the $1 Million originally approved by state legislators.

The JobsOhio annual report released Friday (full report here) shows an additional $5.3 million in public grants were provided to the private development organization last year.

Other documents, reported in yesterday’s Dispatch, don’t seem to jibe with the officially reported numbers.   Those documents show contract extensions originally signed by former JobsOhio leader Mark Kvamme and Development Director Christiane Schmenk could have provided up to $11.8 million in state money to the group.

Problem 1: Extra money was provided to JobsOhio without the approval of the legislature or the controlling board.

Problem 2: No one seems to know or be willing to say exactly how much money changed hands.

From the Dispatch:

“Neither Jones [from JobsOhio] nor Todd Walker from the state’s Development Services Agency could say yesterday how much JobsOhio had received. Two veteran Republican lawmakers who asked not to be named said they were unaware of any payments to JobsOhio beyond the original $1 million.”

JobsOhio spent Millions on huge salaries and travel expenses for its employees and on “professional fees” and other costs that aren’t documented with any detail.   They received millions in secret private donations.  And now it turns out they received millions more in state money that the legislature didn’t know about, in amounts that no one can verify.

Paging State Auditor Dave Yost!

According to their mission statement, the State Auditor’s office “strives for clean, accountable and efficient governments for those we serve, the people of Ohio”.

So they should be perfectly suited for investigating this JobsOhio funding mess, which fails to meet even the basic standards for clean, accountable and efficient government.

The people of Ohio deserve to know how their money is being spent.

It’s time for a Special Investigation into the Development Services Agency and the shady funding practices for JobsOhio.