Ohio Auditor: Owner of Coventry Lane Home Owes OU $20k

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An audit from the state shows a local landlord owes Ohio University more than $20,000 after improperly billing for work done on a Coventry Lane home leased for the former OU president.

The Ohio Auditor of State stated in a news release this week that John Wharton owes OU $20,449 for maintenance and repair expenses on a property at 31 Coventry Lane that were not requested by the university.

John Wharton, Ohio Realty

The university leased the property in March 2015 from John Wharton, owner of Ohio Realty. According to the lease agreement, Wharton could bill the university for maintenance and repair expenses that were requested by OU. Those expenses included the cost of a deck replacement, sod replacement, “property owner related expenses,” and a duplicate payment for lawn care supplies and services, the Auditor’s Office release stated.

The Coventry Lane lease was the subject of an investigation by the Ohio Office of the Inspector General. The office reported in September that the deal created the “reasonable appearance of impropriety.”

“We must be diligent in ensuring that contracts and lease agreements that involve taxpayer dollars leave no room for exploitation or abuse,” Auditor Keith Faber said in the auditor’s press release. “My staff works hard to identify these problems and protect Ohio taxpayers.”

According to the auditor’s office, Wharton’s attorney “has indicated that Wharton disagrees with the finding and instead claims that Ohio University still owes him almost $20,000.”

Read the auditor’s report here.