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Auditor demands JobsOhio files

– Tensions grew Thursday over access to the private financial books of JobsOhio, a nonprofit entity created by Gov. John Kasich to lure jobs to Ohio.

State Auditor Dave Yost, a fellow Republican, says he has the right to audit both the public and private funds flowing through the year-old public-private partnership, but the administration isn’t so sure.

Yost has given JobsOhio Chief Financial Officer Kevin Giangola until noon March 19 to produce the records after JobsOhio declined to volunteer the documents, in a development first reported by the Columbus Dispatch. The subpoena, issued Wednesday, seeks financial statements, spending and revenue ledgers, salary and benefits payments and other documents – or an explanation for withholding the materials.

JobsOhio spokeswoman Laura Jones said it was not immediately clear what Giangola’s plans were with regard to the subpoena.

Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said the Ohio Development Services Agency, the state’s public development arm, has turned over all JobsOhio documents related to public dollars.

“The auditor has clear authority to audit public funds, and if there’s any confusion about that authority, then it needs to be clarified in law,” Nichols said in an email.

“DSA is requesting that the auditor audit the public funds it has provided to JobsOhio and the administration looks forward to working with him on that effort.” Jones issued a nearly identical statement.

Yost said there’s no confusion over his authority to audit JobsOhio, including both its public and private funds. The entity recently went to market with a $1.5 billion bond offering backed by proceeds from its rights to the state’s liquor business for the next 25 years.

“The governor and I have the same goal: to make sure JobsOhio’s money is working for the people of Ohio – creating jobs and growing this economy for our families,” Yost said in a statement. “It’s important to look at the total picture. The private bond proceeds trace directly back to the public money.”