When Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern repeated an appearance at an event for  Cuyahoga Falls mayoral candidate Don Walters, he asserted that Gov. John Kasich was running for president.  “Absolutely,” Redfern told me. “100 pct!” That at least suggested that the state party’s front office was keeping an eye on Kasich’s every  hint of national aspirations even as the governor was running for re-election next year.

But what at first seemed to foreordain a cakewalk for the governor the second time around is now running instead into the sort of messy stuff that hardly eases his rite of passage against his Democratic rival, Ed FitzGerald, next year.

The past week was his worst since the hard-edged governor  entered office boorishly calling a Columbus police officer an idiot.

In a major piece, the Toledo Blade blew a wide hole in Kasich’s many boasts of job creation through tax incentives under a headline, Many Jobs State Says it Creates  Don’t Exist

The paper reported it found errors in 37 pct. of grant reports and are an “example of lapses in the way Ohio manages its business incentives,” including job-creation numbers. So the state is “hard-pressed to recoup the money it lends or gives to companies that fail to create jobs.”

Unsurprisingly, the paper said Kasich’s office refused requests for comments on the article. (Kasich once said he doesn’t read newspapers and more recently  his spokesman said the governor  will not speak to reporters.)

PART TWO: The Columbus Dispatch reported Saturday  that Jonathan Hook,  Ohio State University’s chief investment officer, opposed the school’s $50 million investment in a venture capital fund headed by Kasich’s close friend, Mark Kvamme.  According to a memo the newspaper received from OSU, Hook said Kvamme’s Drive Capital fund “is still very much unproven at this stage.   The fund hasn’t demonstrated proof-of-concept, doesn’t offer  (redacted) the historical track record and carries a variety of other risks and unknowns.  In summary, it does not meet our traditional underwriting standards and risk/return criteria.”

But it did  meet the standards of Kasich ally E. Gordon Gee,  who decided to move the money to Kvamme before  Gee retired as OSU’s president.  So impressed with Gee’s insider talent, Kvamme’s business partner, Chris Olson,  praised Gee in a another memo  as an “influencer”  who could persuade other universities to join the investment parade to Kvamme.

Back in June, according to the memos  obtained by the Dispatch, Gee influenced a skeptical Joseph A. Alutto, the school’s incoming interim president, to support the deal.  Alutto had expressed concerns about the size of the investment.  But a week before  Gee retired,  he emailed Geoff Chatas, OSU’s chief financial officer with good news.

“I spoke with Joe Alutto today and told him we had to honor the Kvamme agreement,” Gee wrote.  “He agreed.  We are back on solid ground.  Make that happen quickly.”

It did. How could it not with the inner circle of powerful friends named Kasich, Kvamme and Gee.  Folks, don’t let the details confuse you. Just consider it a deal that doesn’t pass  the smell test.

  • David Corey

    You forgot to mention the part where Gee then approached Kvamme for a $1.5M donation to Gee’s new center at OSU:

    “In September, records show, Gee got permission from OSU’s fundraising office to approach Kvamme for a $1.5 million donation for a higher-education center that Gee is creating at the Glenn School of Public Affairs. Kvamme has not donated money for the center, OSU spokeswoman Gayle Saunders said last night.”

    If that’s not straight pay-to-play politics I don’t know what is.

  • Stephen Beard

    The blush is definitely off Gordon Gee, but regardless of what Gee did or didn’t do, the inflation of job creation statistics is a nearly criminal act, especially since the state is not allowed to audit JobsOhio. Will the private auditor release its findings publicly? If not, what recourse is there?

  • Think.

    Don’t let that cute little bow-tie fool you…

  • jr6020

    I’m not so sure it was a bad week for him. The NYT and Paul Krugman gave him good press among others…

  • Natasha

    OMG! you mean a government agency is fudging its numbers? Kinda
    scrubbing its data to make it look good to the taxpayers and its media
    sycophants. Gollee-gee what are we to do do?

    Wait, maybe Ohio’s Chief Truant Officer, Doosh-Bag Dave Yost can ride to the rescue and flush out all the evil fudged numbers and data-scrubbers.

  • Hmmmm. Didn’t Tom Noe also get $50 million for an investment a few years ago?

  • dmoore2222

    Kasich created this incubator for corruption (JobsOhio) so don’t be surprised what crawls out of this sewer. Fitzgeral needs to keep the heat on. Eventually they’ll all start turning on one another so save their own hides.

  • Gene

    John Kasich , if he wants to run for President will have to do it in 2016, as he is getting too old to run for U. S., President, but not to old to run for Pope and be leader and ruler of the whole world for those of you who wonder why the government politics is so filled with sex and politics filled with anti-homosexuality, anti-abortion, charter and religious schools etc. etc. and immigration , anti-gun etc.
    And a comment to Kat who said John Kasich is a Protestant for years: Tell your John Kasich fables to someone else.
    He’s a chameleon. He was once listed as a Catholic, then a Catholic evangelical whatever the heck that’s supposed to mean, unless it means some high quality, spiritual angelic being superior to the rest of humanity, then as a evangelical, again , some mysterious spiritual angelic being above the rest of humanity and then, the last I saw he was listed as a Christian. If that means Protestant – fine .But ” once a Catholic always a Catholic” in case you Protestants never heard the phrase. He can be anything he wants , just as a Protestant can be a member of any Protestant church and call himself of that demonination. Protestants change churches or stay according to their religious backgrounds , or like the congregation, pastor, services etc.
    I am listening to the Catholic Glenn Beck on radio right now who now calls himself a Mormon, and pretends on his program to be a Mormon prophet , has said he joined the Mormon church after attending several demoninations and asking his daughter which one she liked and she said she liked the Mormon church which is why he attended and now claims to be a Mormon but I’ve never read he ever denounced his Catholic faith and officially became Mormon or wears the Mormon underwear.
    John Kasich is careful to try to keep as much secrecy as possible about himself so as to not give much negative criticism of himself when he runs for whatever office again, as he found out trying to follow the conservative agenda and eliminate unions and union membership.

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