Tuesday, December 10, 2013

There Goes Our Money

Ohioans are worried about the money going out to friends of Gov. John Kasich. Kasich's buddy, Mark Kvamme, served as the director of JobsOhio, but then resigned to return to his investment firm. Kvamme was able to secure $50 million in investments from the Ohio State University with the help of then University President Gordon Gee. After Gee resigned, he continued to push OSU to get involved with Kvamme's investment, even though some thought it was too much of an outlay of money. 

Today, Ohioans are asking lots of questions about the details of this investment. 


...Progress Ohio is questioning whether OSU agreed to comparable terms in its $50 million investment in Mark Kvamme's Drive Capital as were offered to at least one other public agency approached by the firm for funds....

....Rothenberg said OSU's investment in the latter should prompt an examination of state ethics laws to block officials leaving JobsOhio or other appointed positions from benefitting financially from their former positions.

"We have somebody who'd never been to Ohio or hadn't spent much time in Ohio, did not have a whole lot of contacts, came in for a dollar a year, made many contacts through JobsOhio with the business community and other wealthy folks in Ohio and turned around and resigned and three years later was able to get a contract which we know was a sweetheart contract...," he said. "That's a pretty big return for anybody anywhere in the country. I think he definitely cashed in on the relationships that he was able to develop in Ohio, better than most Ohioans could."

The ToledoBlade notes that Kvamme could make $9 million from the agreement.

This whole investment thing is just disgusting. Ohio taxpayers have their money being funneled to JobsOhio, but we are not allowed to see the details of what is happening.  Ohio State makes an agreement with Kasich's buddy, but taxpayers, students, parents that foot the bill for tuition, and OSU donors are not permitted to see the facts of the financial arrangement. In the past, Ohio State has not given money of this size to an individual for investment. Some within the university suggested a much smaller amount of investment, but were shot down by Gordon Gee and others.  If Ohio State loses money on this deal, will Gordon Gee cover the losses?

The article in the ToledoBlade reminds Ohioans that the last Ohio Republican administration also went down the private investment route. Former Gov. Bob Taft brought us "Coingate" and the loss of hundreds of millions of state dollars that were invested in coins, Beanie Babies, and art. Why are we allowing Kasich, his friends, and the GOP to travel to the secret, backroom money deals as they did with Tom Noe?

>>>>  Is John Kasich rewarding failing charter schools? Plunderbund has the info:

The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) is the largest charter school in the state of Ohio.  The online school is larger than the vast majority of Ohio’s traditional school districts and received over $88 million in state funding last school year.  This year that amount is expected to jump to over $92 million....

....For graduation rate, a key indicator for the long-term success of a school/district, ECOT’s 5-year graduation rate of 37.8% was over 25 points worse than the lowest urban, Cleveland, who checked in at 63.3%.....

....As was the case in 2011, that money is STILL not going to educate the students enrolled at ECOT, but instead is lining the pockets of owner/operator William Lager, massive donor to the Ohio Republican Party.  In 2010, Lager donated $220,795 to Ohio’s lawmakers.  In 2011, the yearly donations dropped to $83,500.00, but he rebounded in 2012 with $201,537.40 in donations and $196,878.06 in only the first half of 2013.  While much of this money was directed toward specific candidates, $64,000 was donated to the Republican House and Senate Campaign committees (file that away for later)....

It appears that if you own a charter school, contribute to Ohio Republicans, you can get more money for your failing charter.
The venture capital firm co-founded by Mark Kvamme, Gov. John Kasich’s former jobs czar, stands to make at least $9 million in management fees on a $50 million, 10-year investment made by Ohio State University.
Read more at http://www.toledoblade.com/Politics/2013/12/10/lt-div-class-libPageBodyLinebreak-gt-Kvamme-s-firm-could-lt-br-gt-reap-9M-lt-br-gt-from-OSU-lt-div-gt-Copy.html#dSXgBiJfBCwgMJB2.99