Money and a pen

Ohio Inspector General’s Report Says State Lost $3.5m in 2019

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WOUB) – Ohio Inspector General Randall G. Meyer’s office reported a $3.5 million loss to taxpayers in the Buckeye State last year, according to an annual report released Thursday.

Meyer’s office is responsible for taking citizen complaints about alleged fraud, waste, abuse, corruption, and conflict of interest by state officials, state agencies, or vendors who do business with the state.

According to the report, the OIG’s office closed 58 cases in 2019. Some of these cases were opened in previous years. Nine of these cases resulted in monetary loss to the state.

(Photo via Ohio Inspector General’s Office)

One of the cases detailed in the report involved Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry employees working at Hocking Hills State Park and Shawnee State Forest.

According to the report, a forest manager transported wood from a curly soft maple tree from Hocking Hills to Shawnee State Forest and had other ODNR employees cut it for him using company equipment, so he could take it for personal use.

Forest Manager Matt Morgan was found to violate ODNR’s ethics policy “which states, in part, that employees are prohibited from using state time, facilities, or resources to promote or conduct their private business, and that no employee shall use or authorize the use of the authority or influence of their office to secure anything of value for themselves.”

The OIG’s office concluded Robert Boyles, former assistant director of the Division, violated company policy when he permitted Morgan to transport parts of the tree. Investigators claim Boyles knew Morgan would use the wood for personal purposes.

The report states two other employees were found to have violated ODNR policy because they were aware of wrongdoing, but did not report it.

A local lumber company estimated the sawed wood for the OIG’s office and found it was worth $2,373.

To access the full report and read more about individual cases, click here.