AIG considers suing US over bailout

Published: Wednesday, January 09, 2013 @ 3:13 PM
Updated: Wednesday, January 09, 2013 @ 3:13 PM

This may be a case of biting the hand that gave you $182 billion.

The American International Group (AIG) board plans to meet today to decide if it will join in a $25 billion shareholder lawsuit against the government (that’s you) over the terms of its 2008 bailout, the New York Times reported.

Sounds crazy, we know.

According to the Times: “The lawsuit contends that the onerous nature of the rescue — the taking of what became a 92 percent stake in the company, the deal’s high interest rates and the funneling of billions to the insurer’s Wall Street clients — deprived shareholders of tens of billions of dollars and violated the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits the taking of private property for ‘public use, without just compensation.’”

According to the Hill, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) are among the politicians disturbed by the potential suit.

“Taxpayers across this country saved AIG from ruin, and it would be outrageous for this company to turn around and sue the federal government because they think the deal wasn’t generous enough,” Warren said, according to The Hill’s “On the Money” blog.

The ‘suing us’ talk comes just weeks after AIG released its commercial thanking us for all that awesome help in using $182 billion to save it from collapse.

What do you think?

Should suing us even be an option for AIG?

Contact this blogger at arobinson@DaytonDailyNews.com or Twitter.com/DDNSmartMouth

Toxic chemical risks hidden from public

Published: Sunday, April 13, 2014 @ 12:05 AM
Updated: Monday, May 01, 2017 @ 1:27 PM

An industrial accident involving hazardous chemicals would threaten entire local communities, including nearly a million residents if a major chlorine release occurred at a single West Chester Twp. chemical company, yet the public is given little information about the dangers these chemicals pose.

 

Despite a slew of regulations, major gaps remain in the government’s ability to protect the public against the release of toxic chemicals, a Dayton Daily News investigation found.

 

No one agency is responsible for ensuring that companies report the chemicals they have on hand, or to regularly inspect their equipment to make sure it is well-maintained and operating safely. Budget constraints also limit the number of inspections agencies can accomplish.

 

In fact, companies with extremely hazardous chemicals can go years without safety inspections and some have never had one, according to reports filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

 

“I think the public thinks that dangerous chemicals are well-regulated and that information about those dangers is easily available,” said Ellis Jacobs, senior attorney for Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, a public interest law firm serving low-income people. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

RELATED: Ohio third in nation for serious hazmat accidents

More than 1,000 facilities in nine area counties use or store threshold quantities of extremely hazardous chemicals that require reporting under Tier II rules to the state, which shares the information with local emergency planning agencies. Sixty area companies have toxic and flammable materials deemed so dangerous they must file Risk Management Plans with the U.S. EPA outlining safety measures, risk factors, and a “worst-case” scenario for a release of one container — sometimes as large as a rail car — of the chemical.

  

But obtaining information on what dangers these chemicals pose is difficult, and well beyond the reach of most members of the public. The newspaper obtained a database of Risk Management Plans for more than 12,700 RMP companies nationwide through the Freedom of Information Act, but federal rules largely shield the companies’ worst-case scenario information that includes the radius of danger and number of people who could be hurt in an accident.

 

Finding out that information required an appointment-only trip to the EPA reading room in Cincinnati, where just 10 reports can be read a month — restrictions officials say are necessary to protect against terrorism. Notes must be taken by hand and copying the reports is prohibited.

RELATED: Crude Oil and Ethanol Accidents

 

Stocks of hazardous chemicals can endanger the public because of accidents, terrorist attacks and extreme weather events such as tornadoes. Critics of the current regulatory system say there is a lack of transparency and poor communication between government entities, putting the public and first responders at risk when accidents or catastrophic events happen.

 

Firefighters who responded last year to a fire at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, did not know it contained up to 270 tons of ammonium nitrate. Fifteen people died, including 12 first responders, when the chemicals exploded.

 

Chemical regulations shrouded in secrecy

 

Even though Tier II chemicals are regulated under a law called the “Community Right to Know Act,” members of the public cannot see that information without first knowing the name of specific companies and requesting those documents, according to Richard Brouder, Ohio EPA public records manager, who cited federal law for the secrecy rule. If residents don’t know the names of the companies in their area, they can’t get the information.

 

In Ohio, 7,647 companies report hazardous chemicals to the state under the Tier II rules, including 412 that file RMP plans. Most are private companies, but public water treatment and wastewater plants also are on the list because they use chlorine to sanitize water.

 

The newspaper analyzed RMP data for facilities in Montgomery, Greene, Warren, Butler, Clark, Champaign, Miami, Preble and Darke counties, which together have 16.7 million pounds of hazardous chemicals, including chlorine, anhydrous ammonia, hydrogen fluoride, butane, sulfur dioxide and sulfur trioxide.

 

Butler County has the most in the region — 18 facilities with 8.2 million pounds of chemicals, including Univar USA Inc. of West Chester, where a worst-case release of a 180,000-pound cylinder of chlorine at the chemical facility could impact 995,424 people in a 14-mile radius. Univar officials did not respond to a request for comment.

 

Clark County has the second highest amount of chemicals — 2.3 million pounds at eight facilities, all using either chlorine or anhydrous ammonia, which are among the most common hazardous chemicals nationwide.

 

Despite its industrial base, Montgomery County ranks eighth with 265,741 pounds of chemicals at eight facilities. The 2012 end of paper production at Appvion Inc., formerly Appleton Papers in West Carrollton, cut Montgomery County’s total by more than half with the elimination of 360,000 tons of chlorine used to make paper.

 

Montgomery County was the site of two of the area’s most prominent industrial accidents in recent years — one in 2003 at the chemical company Isotec, now known as Sigma-Aldrich, in Miami Twp. The other one occurred in 2009 at the organic waste recycler, Veolia Environmental Services, in West Carrollton, which sent flames soaring into the night sky and damaged a major portion of the plant.

 

Neither were RMP companies, however. Isotec did use nitric oxide, a regulated chemical that exploded, but did not have the threshold quantity requiring a risk management plan.

 

Reform efforts are launched

 

Advocates for reform say the inability to access information on the amount of chemicals stored in the community and gaps in enforcement put the public at risk. They point to last year’s fire and explosion of ammonium nitrate at the West Texas Fertilizer Co. as proof of the danger. In addition to the deaths, part of the town of West was destroyed.

 

In response, President Barack Obama last August issued an executive order for federal agencies to recommend chemical safety and security improvements to him by May 1. A federal working group has since been holding listening sessions and taking comment.

 

“Workers, emergency responders, and the public continue to die and suffer injuries in horrendous explosions and fires,” said Rafael Moure-Eraso, chairperson of the government’s chemical accident investigator, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB).

 

“We want to get something done, something with teeth,” Moure-Eraso said in his March testimony to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “And I believe what we need is comprehensive regulatory reform.”

 

Proposals advocated by reformers so far include mandating the use of safer chemicals and processes — such as switching from chlorine gas to sodium hypochlorite, a high-strength bleach — adding chemicals such as ammonium nitrate to the RMP list, and reducing the amount of hazardous materials that can be kept on site.

 

But industry officials counter that there are already enough regulations. They say companies answer to multiple regulatory agencies, run their businesses as safely as possible and should not be forced by the government to switch to safer chemicals, materials and processes.

 

Elizabeth O’Neal, senior manager of government relations for the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates, said government needs to focus on enforcing existing laws, not creating new ones.

 

“We believe that what is already on the books are laws that can be really effectively utilized if they’re properly administered,” O’Neal said. “There’s just no point in creating new law if people really aren’t doing what existing authorities require.”

 

The newspaper investigation found that a patchwork of laws and regulators govern companies that use hazardous chemicals. Of the 60,000 chemicals used by industry, several hundred are regulated as extremely hazardous. They are regulated by different agencies using at least five different, and sometimes overlapping, lists of chemicals.

 

Reporting requirements kick in when chemical quantities reach threshold amounts, but exemptions in some cases allow businesses like retail fuel establishments or farmers to avoid regulations. At least one business owner told the newspaper he didn’t know who would inspect him.

 

“The regulations are there. What’s not there is the mechanism to make sure the regulations are being followed,” said Denny Bristow, coordinator for the Dayton Regional Hazardous Materials Team. “It would be great to have an agency at either state or federal level which is tasked with inspecting industries with hazardous chemical processes and ensuring that the regulations are followed.”

 

RELATED: Highways account for vast majority of serious spills

With so many agencies governing varying lists of chemicals and thresholds for reporting, the Congressional Research Service found “no central overview of facility chemical holdings exists, and may create the potential for inefficient regulation,” according to a July 2013 report released in the wake of the West, Texas, accident.

 

“The key really is the lack of any one place that has enforcement capability,” said Christine Todd Whitman, a Republican former governor of New Jersey and U.S. EPA administrator who now heads a New Jersey-based energy and environmental consulting company, Whitman Strategy Group.

 

“And that’s why if you really want to get it done, the president has got to ensure that his executive order gets carried out in a way that is truly protective.”

 

Budget constraints keep enforcement limited

 

State and federal regulators — from the EPA to Homeland Security — oversee facilities that use hazardous chemicals, but a scorecard is needed to keep straight who does what.

 

The EPA does periodic paperwork audits of RMP companies but is not empowered to do safety inspections of equipment and processes, according to Dina Pierce, spokeswoman for the Ohio EPA, which administers the RMP program for the feds. And the federal agency that is empowered to do safety inspections — the Occupational Safety and Health Administration — says it is hampered in its efforts by budget constraints.

 

Companies with permits under other EPA programs — such as air pollution control — are subject to compliance inspections by the EPA, and Pierce said local emergency planning committees can do inspections or site visits of Tier II companies. But only a small fraction of those companies undergo such inspections. Of the 7,647 Tier II facilities statewide, emergency planning committees reported doing inspections on 186, or a little more than 2 percent of the companies on the list.

 

OSHA does no more than three or four thorough inspections a year at facilities using extremely hazardous chemicals in the 20-county region that includes the Dayton-Cincinnati area, said Bill Wilkerson, area director.

 

“OSHA itself has said many times they don’t have the resources to go around inspecting all of the places that need inspecting,” said Sandy Gilmour of the Chemical Safety Board.

 

RELATED: When hazardous materials are released: Serious incidents

OSHA has its hands tied in other ways, according to Wilkerson. Companies regulated by OSHA’s workplace rules do not have to report to the agency what their hazardous chemicals are. In monitoring local companies, OSHA looks at the EPA’s lists and guesses what chemicals may be present based on the type of business, Wilkerson said. Then, during site visits, the companies must provide documentation to OSHA of their hazardous chemicals and safety plans.

 

Even the Department of Homeland Security lacks certain clout over the companies it regulates. The department, which is charged with approving safety plans for companies that use chemicals that are at risk for terrorism, cannot force companies to use safer materials or processes. The agency also has continually missed its own deadlines for securing high-risk chemical facilities, according to a January report by the Congressional Research Service. It could be years before the security plan approval and inspection process is complete, the report said.

 

Homeland Security’s list of 4,266 companies possessing about 325 dangerous chemicals that are deemed a particular risk for terrorism is not public.

 

Safety improvements recommended by the Chemical Safety Board — including a mandate to use “inherently safer technology” — have languished amid industry opposition. As a result, companies are asked to voluntarily use best practices instead of being required to switch to IST, an industry label that encompasses the mandated use of safer chemicals and processes where possible and a reduction of hazardous chemical stockpiles.

 

“If you don’t have the stuff there, it can’t be released,” Moure-Eraso said in support of a stricter mandate.

 

Major industrial accidents such as those occurring at the Chevron refinery in Richmond, Calif., in August 2012 and the April 2010 explosion and fire at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Wash., could have been avoided by the use of available inherently safer methods, according to a January draft report by the CSB on the Tesora accident, which killed seven workers.

 

Greenpeace and the Yellow Springs-based Green Environmental Coalition have called for a Fairborn pool chemical company to switch to sodium hypochlorite, a high-strength bleach — which is safer than chlorine gas — a change adopted by Clorox in 2009. The company, Miami Products and Chemical Co., is allowed to have up to four 90-ton rail cars full of chlorine gas on a private rail spur, although its owner says he typically has one or two.

 

A worst-case release of the contents from one rail car — 180,000 pounds of deadly chlorine gas — would endanger 581,240 people in a 14-mile radius around the company, according to the company’s RMP report.

 

Heavier than air, chlorine gas hugs the ground in a release. It is a deadly inhalation hazard that also burns eyes and skin. In 2005, a train engineer and eight others died of chlorine inhalation when a Norfolk Southern Railway Co. train derailed, causing a rail car carrying chlorine to be breached and leak near Graniteville, S.C. The accident injured 554 people and caused the evacuation of 5,400 people.

 

“These things are just scary and dangerous things,” said Vickie Hennessy, president of the Green Environmental Coalition.

 

‘I don’t know who would inspect it’

 

Miami Products and Chemical Co. owner and president Roger Kayser said his facility has multiple safety mechanisms built to industry standards and has not had a chlorine release from a rail car since moving to the new facility from Dayton in 2002.

 

“We have equipment and procedures to handle minor stuff. We’ve never used it,” said Kayser. “If somebody punched a hole in the side, I don’t know what you’d do. Evacuate.”

 

While the regional hazmat team and fire department conduct training sessions at his site and he does in-house safety inspections, Kayser said there has never been a government safety inspection of the facility.

 

“I don’t know who would inspect it,” Kayser said.

 

RELATED: Area companies say steps taken to reduce risks

The EPA’s Pierce, in response from queries by the newspaper, said the agency called Kayser and asked who has done any type of inspection of his facility. She said Kayser told the agency that he had had visitors from the fire department, U.S. Air Force, Homeland Security, the railroad and others.

 

“So it’s not like this company is not on anybody’s radar,” Pierce said.

 

Kayser said Miami Products in 2010 also began using sodium hypochlorite, a high-strength bleach, but he won’t say how much that has reduced his chlorine gas usage. Kayser said he is studying renovating the plant to handle more of the alternative material.

 

“We have considered a switch, but the technology and logistics aren’t quite there for our company,” he said. “Being solely reliant upon a single source of product isn’t feasible for our business at this time.”

 

Therese Cirone, vice president for health, environment, safety and security at the Chlorine Institute trade group, opposes mandated inherently safer technology.

 

“Specific processes and needs should be left to the operating companies,” Cirone said. “A mandated IST, we believe, is not in the best interests of all.”

 

O’Neal, of the industry’s Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates, said companies already practice “inherent safety.” Switching to different chemicals or reducing the amount on hand is not an option for many companies, she said.

 

When Whitman was EPA administrator during the George W. Bush administration, she supported an IST mandate, which was blocked by industry interests.

 

“It is a question of the big money guys saying, ‘We don’t want to have to spend this money.’” Whitman said. “But what they have to spend when disaster hits is far greater than any preventative.”

 

Whitman believes that limiting the type and amount of extremely hazardous chemicals at companies is a matter of national security.

 

“Terrorists are not going to attack a nuclear reactor,” she said. “It doesn’t blow up in the way people think it blows up. It’s not going to be what they want. They’ll go after a chemical site.”

 

Notification here strong

 

While the government has made robust emergency planning processes a priority — particularly in the years since 9/11 — Bristow said there is no seamless system of informing first responders of what chemical hazards they may face in responding to a fire, explosion or other release of toxic chemicals. The West, Texas, fertilizer plant explosion is often used as exhibit A for tragic outcomes when firefighters rush in without the information needed to protect them.

 

To that end, Bristow and emergency planning officials in Montgomery, Clark and Butler counties all said the notification systems in the Dayton region are strong. They use the U.S. EPA’s computerized system, known as CAMEO, to keep track of chemical hazards that have been reported and to plan emergency responses.

 

They all said they communicate with the companies in their areas and hold on-site training sessions for handling emergencies at some facilities. Local fire departments also have the authority to do fire inspections.

 

But Bristow, who trains first responders across the state, said emergency response systems are not as organized and active everywhere. And he said fire departments often don’t have the money for specialized training in chemical hazards. That is a nationwide problem, according to April 2 testimony to a House subcommittee by Elizabeth M. Harman, assistant to the general president of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

 

“Unfortunately, the lack of adequately trained personnel in the fire service means that there are significant portions of the country where first responders are not prepared for an incident involving hazardous material,” said Harman. “That can have serious real-world implications including property loss, death and injury to both private citizens and responding firefighters.”

 

The chemical group’s O’Neal said companies report their hazardous chemicals to various government entities and it is up to government to share that information down the line to the fire departments and other first responders.

 

“We are all on board with sorrow for the loss of life in West, Texas,” O’Neal said. “In our opinion that could possibly be a failure of government speaking to government.”

 

‘I have nightmares’

 

Most of the current laws governing chemical hazards came in the wake 1984 Bhopal, India, gas leak at a Union Carbide pesticide plant, which killed nearly 4,000 people immediately and injured hundreds of thousands. The Homeland Security laws were adopted after 9/11.

 

Michael Wright, director of health, safety and environment for the United Steelworkers, said it is a shame that it takes a catastrophe to spark reform.

 

He is holding out hope that changes will come before another catastrophe occurs.

 

Wright was part of a response team after the Bhopal accident, and remembers walking through the neighborhood hearing the coughs of people whose lungs were badly damaged from breathing the methyl isocyanate that leaked from the plant.

 

“I have nightmares about that,” Wright said. “You’d see kids without parents and parents who had lost their kids.”

 

Contact this reporter at 937-225-7455 or email Lynn.Hulsey@coxinc.com

Area companies say steps taken to reduce risks

Published: Sunday, April 13, 2014 @ 12:05 AM
Updated: Monday, May 01, 2017 @ 1:19 PM

The black skull and crossbones is stamped prominently on the “Danger Chlorine” placards placed on the door and equipment inside the Springfield Water Treatment Plant chlorine room.

The placards serve as a visible reminder that the one-ton cylinders of chlorine tucked into cheery bright blue secondary containers are deadly dangerous.

The key to protecting the workers and public is an aggressive safety protocol that includes “countless redundant safety mechanisms,” said Chris Moore, Springfield city service director. As an additional safety measure, Moore asked the newspaper not to reveal too many details, but he said the plant’s safety system includes the sealed secondary container, sensors and alarms and smearing fittings with special yellow paint that turns bright red if any chlorine escapes.

“I feel very comfortable with the security and safety mechanisms we have in place,” Moore said.

While it would be safer to sanitize water using concentrated chlorine bleach, which isn’t as dangerous, Plant Superintendent Allen Jones said a switch would be more costly.

RELATED: Toxic chemical risks hidden from public

The plant is one of 60 facilities in nine area counties with quantities of toxic or flammable chemicals that are so hazardous Risk Management Plans (RMP) must be filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency every five years.

Those reports outline risk factors, safety measures and worst-case scenarios. Emergency planners and first responders can use them in training scenarios or in responding to actual accidents.

An extra level of scrutiny — and limits on chemicals — apply to companies located above the two well fields serving Dayton and its suburbs. Those additional regulations, known as Source Water Protection Area rules, were adopted after the 1987 Sherwin-Williams warehouse fire that threatened drinking water supplies, said Michele Simmons, Dayton’s environmental manager.

The two most prominent industrial accidents that occurred in recent years were in Montgomery County and involved companies that were not required to file risk management plans.

RELATED: When hazardous materials are released: Serious incidents

In 2009, a flammable vapor leak at the Veolia Environmental Services organic waste recycling plant caused a fire and multiple explosions. Four workers were injured, two severely, and businesses and houses in the neighborhood were damaged, as was every structure on the site. The company has since rebuilt.

“It’s a brand new facility with state-of-the-art safety systems to ensure that our employees and community are safe,” said Derek Bedle, general manager.

In 2003, one worker was injured and 2,000 Miami Twp. residents were evacuated after a nitric oxide explosion damaged the Isotec chemical plant. Nitric oxide is an RMP chemical but the company had too little on hand to require reporting, said Denny Bristow, coordinator of the Dayton Regional Hazardous Materials Team.

Nitric oxide is no longer used and the company has “continuously” improved its procedures since, said Jen McMahon, spokeswoman for the company, which is now called Sigma-Aldrich.

RELATED: Ohio third in nation for serious hazmat accidents

Six area RMP companies have reported accidents since 2008, but none involved major releases or multiple injuries. Statewide, 35 RMP companies have reported releases since 2008, according to the Ohio EPA.

Univar USA Inc. of West Chester has had three accidents since 2008, all chlorine releases of 500 pounds or less and blamed on equipment failure. One person was injured.

Univar is a chemical company with four RMP chemicals, including chlorine. According to Univar’s RMP worst-case scenario, a release of a 180,000-pound cylinder of chlorine could impact 995,424 people in a 14-mile radius. Univar did not respond to requests for comment.

RELATED: Highways account for vast majority of serious spills

Multiple farming cooperatives in the area have tanks of anhydrous ammonia used as fertilizer by farmers, including Trupointe Cooperative, which operates three local facilities stocking the material. The Trupoint facility in Medway had two releases since 2008 when thieves attempted to steal the chemical, likely to make methamphetamine.

RELATED: Crude Oil and Ethanol Accidents

Officials said those types of thefts have declined as meth makers find new ingredients. But Brad Dinnen, operations manager for Trupointe Cooperative’s South Charleston and Medway facilities, says that hasn’t lessened the company’s commitment to safety and security. The company stores anhydrous ammonia at a distance from other facilities and security measures are taken to keep people from getting to it, he said.

“I feel safe working around it,” Dinnen said.

Preventing accidents starts on the front end with thorough planning and multiple safeguards, said Simmons, the Dayton environmental manager.

“It’s always much more expensive to clean something up after an event than to prevent it,” she said.

Audit questioned deal between WSU, former police chief

Published: Friday, April 14, 2017 @ 7:00 PM


            Wright State University police Chief Michael Martinsen
            Wright State University

Wright State University agreed to pay up to $250,000 to an affiliated non-profit to hire former WSU police chief Michael Martinsen a year after he was terminated from the university, according to a forensic audit of Wright State’s research arm released last week.

Included in Martinsen’s compensation was a $50,000 signing bonus, according to the audit.

“Wright State paid (Advanced Technical Intelligence Center) for Mike Martinsen’s contract work in settlement of a complaint that Martinsen brought against the university through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for gender discrimination and retaliation,” said a statement by WSU spokesman Seth Bauguess Friday in response to questions about the contract.

Martinsen declined to comment for this story.

Martinsen was terminated by Wright State in March 2014 after a six-month paid suspension following allegations of misconduct, according to his personnel file obtained by this newspaper. Martinsen has maintained he did nothing wrong, and an Ohio Department of Job and Family Services review in 2014 found he was fired “without just cause.”

Auditors with the firm Plante Moran also raised questions about how the Wright State Advanced Research Corporation, which handles research contracting for the university, recorded the expenses for Martinsen’s work for ATIC.

The transaction was recorded as a credit to an expense account for rent — an accounting the audit called unusual.

“It is possible that this entry was recorded in this manner in order to ‘hide’ the invoice; however, we cannot validate the reason for this questionable entry,” the auditors wrote.

An invoice from ATIC to WSARC for $255,000 was included in the audit.

WSARC director Dennis Andersh said in an interview Friday he believes the full contract amount was paid, but he wasn’t involved in the arrangement and knows nothing about how and why Martinsen was hired. He said the strange accounting was simply a “mistake.”

“Someone entered it into the ledger incorrectly, and it was later corrected,” he said.

RELATED: Why the redacted pages in WSU audit?

Auditors said they had trouble initially getting information about the transaction from ATIC officials.

“When we presented a copy of this invoice in our interviews with (ATIC finance officials) Tim Feeser and Janet Erickson, neither individual wanted to discuss it,” the auditors wrote. “Tim Feeser stated, ‘I don’t want to talk about that one.’”

Asked for comment, Feeser this week referred all questions to Wright State.

Erickson told auditors that she had prepared the invoice from ATIC and that the funding was used to hire Martinsen.

“Janet Erickson represented that it was recommended by WSU that ATIC hire Martinsen and that WSU would provide the funding for his compensation,” the auditors wrote. An email given the auditors by Erickson showed that the funds were provided through a grant to ATIC’s Center for Law Enforcement Analysis and Training, or CLEAT.

Reached for comment this week, Erickson — who no longer works for ATIC — said she was hesitant to discuss the issue with auditors because, “I wasn’t privy to all the information on the questions they were asking. I didn’t want to give false information or be misquoted.”

Erickson said she knew that Martinsen helped recruit trainers for the nonprofit’s law enforcement training classes. She said she was not involved in the decision to hire him or how his contract was structured.

“I was just the finance manager,” she said.

RELATED: Audit questions bonuses, contracts between WSU and tech firm

ATIC in March 2015 entered into a two-year contract for Martinsen to work for CLEAT. In addition to the $50,000 signing bonus, he would receive $175 an hour, with a maximum payout of $250,000, according to the audit.

Auditors note that Martinsen also signed a “certificate of acknowledgement” releasing WSU and ATIC from any legal claims.

RELATED: Kasich’s office: WSU leadership was ‘cultivating a regime of secrecy’

Martinsen’s personnel file includes an October 2014 letter to Martinsen from former WSU chief general counsel Gwen Mattison saying there was insufficient evidence to justify the allegations. She said, however, that “(WSU’s) decision to terminate your employment was based upon factors independent of the complainants’ allegations.”

Wright State officials have not commented on the reason for Martinsen’s termination beyond providing a copy of his personnel record.

The Plante Moran audit includes invoices from Martinsen billing ATIC by the hour for “confidential investigation services.”

Prior to the audit’s release on April 7, Wright State and ATIC both refused to confirm or deny whether Martinsen was providing services for ATIC, which WSU officials maintain is a separate non-profit and not subject to state public records laws.

RELATED: LexisNexis one of 4 area companies linked to WSU visa misuse probe

In March 2016, this newspaper asked under Ohio public records law for “records of any payment to Martinsen after his separation (2014 to present), including any payment made through WSARC, WSRI, ATIC or any other related entity.”

“The University has no additional records responsive to your request,” Bauguess wrote in an email.

MORE I-TEAM WSU COVERAGE:

Read WSU president’s testimony shedding light on federal probe

WSU implements budget cuts; trustee blames leadership

WSU sponsored visa for worker at trustee’s firm

SPECIAL REPORT: Lost Jobs; Importing foreign workers

Staying with the story

This newspaper is your only source for information on the budget problems and investigations involving Wright State University. See Sunday’s newspaper for more on the story, and go to myDaytonDailyNews.com for past stories.

6 businesses that helped build Dayton

Published: Tuesday, December 09, 2014 @ 1:53 PM
Updated: Tuesday, December 09, 2014 @ 1:53 PM


            Dayton is a city built on building things. Here are a few of the businesses that helped build Dayton.

The history books may not put it this way, but it’s true nonetheless: Dayton was built on building things. And flying them. And then building them and flying them even better.

At least two institutions of note, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and NCR Corp., help tell the tale. But so does an array of businesses or institutions that have stood the test of time.

Even in an era of globalization — even in the wake of the Great Recession — Dayton continues to make things. Here are six businesses that have shaped Dayton’s past, present and future.

The base

Wright-Patterson, of course, is a U.S. Air Force base and home of the Air Force’s logistics, supply and research efforts. It also is, with some 27,000 civilian and military employees, site of Ohio’s largest employer in one locale.

Depending on whom you ask, WPAFB is the most important Air Force base in the world. And the Greene County base is inarguably the most important employer in the Dayton area.

Many airplanes and weapons systems are designed, developed, acquired and perfected at Wright Patt, or that formative process is overseen from Wright-Patt.

Which makes sense. The base traces its history back to the original aviation researchers, Dayton brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright, who perfected piloted flight in 1904-05 over the nearby 84-acre Huffman Prairie.

By 1948, what had been Wright Field and Patterson Field were brought together into one sprawling base. (Another part of the base was given to the state of Ohio in the early 1960s to become what today is Wright State University. In Dayton, we have a right to our “Wrights.”)

The “Cash”

Though NCR — once known as National Cash Register — is no longer based in Dayton, its history will always be intertwined with the city.

John Patterson, legendary founder of NCR, oversaw a local rescue response during the Great Flood of 1913, which devastated several communities along the Great Miami River, including Dayton.

The company had 11,000 local employees by the end of 1949 and 18,000 in 1966.

But a long exodus from Dayton to other sites globally probably began in the 1970s, if not earlier, and by 2009, NCR had just 1,300 employees in Dayton, fewer than it had in Georgia at that point.

By June 2009, the company announced a headquarters move to the Atlanta area, something residents and leaders long feared and suspected. Some of NCR’s executive team remains based in New York City, where current CEO Bill Nuti has long worked.

Standard Register

Founded in 1912, Standard Register is another Dayton company that has weathered the test of time. It’s still based in the Gem City while growing elsewhere, most recently in Denver and, last year, in Jeffersonville, Ind.

Once focused on paper, documents and labels, Standard Register today is more about helping companies communicate with customers and staking a place in health care, financial services, industrial and other markets.

In August 2013, Standard Register acquired another local company operating in roughly the same space, Workflow One, in a deal valued at $218 million. What came of the deal was “one of the largest printing and print management companies in North America,” the company said at the time.

Today, the newly combined company has about 825 Dayton employees and 3,600 workers nationally.

Delco/Delphi

Even in Dayton, Delco – a former producer of auto and defense electronics – and Delphi – a current producer of auto parts – sometimes get confused.

Delphi was born of General Motors’ auto parts-producing arm, being spun off and becoming an independent company in 1999.

At one point, part of Delco itself was spun off to Delphi. That may be one source of confusion. Another source: Both companies had strong ties to Dayton, at different places and at different times in their long respective histories.

The Dayton Engineering Laboratories Co. (which became Delco) was founded in 1909 by two Dayton-based giants of business and engineering, Charles Kettering and Edward Deeds.

Chances are excellent that you’ve never had to use a hand crank to start a car. For that, you have Mr. Kettering – inventor of the automotive self-starter — to thank.

In Dayton, unfortunately, Delphi’s story quickly became one of steep decline after 1999.

In 1999, some 15,000 workers were employed at area Delphi plants. Two years later, that number was cut roughly in half, being halved yet again by the summer of 2005, the year Delphi filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

A string of Delphi plants closed in the area as the company made its way through Chapter 11. Delphi, which left bankruptcy in 2009, continues to employ maybe as many as 200 people at a Vandalia plant and continues to supply GM with components, mostly from off-shore sites.

Delco no longer operates as a separate entity, although GM controls the name and well known ACDelco spark plugs and other auto parts are found in garages everywhere.

Esther Price

The name of a Hamilton native goes out on nearly a million boxes of chocolate and candy each year.

Esther Price has been synonymous with boxed chocolates for nearly nine decades. But the company’s story started in Hamilton and continues today in Dayton, where the company is still based in offices off Wayne Avenue.

Born Esther Rohman in 1904, the future entrepreneur enjoyed working behind the candy counter of her grandparents’ grocery store in Cincinnati. Her family moved to Dayton when her father, John, got a job at NCR.

She made chocolate as a home business for 30 years before opening a Dayton shop in 1952.

Price sold the company in 1976 to a group of Cincinnati businessmen. But in 2006, the company became family-owned again, with Jim Day taking ownership.

In 2011, the company’s quality manager told a Hamilton audience that Esther Price was the sixth largest chocolate company in the United States, with 87 stores in five states, including four just in Dayton.

Fuyao

The story of Fuyao in the Dayton area is just beginning.

In the summer and fall of 2013, there were indications that a big manufacturer was looking at Dayton sites to possibly open an operation. In the fall of 2013, Cao Dewang, chairman of Fuyao Glass Industry Group, a Chinese maker of automotive glass, met with U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Cincinnati. Not long after, the city of Moraine applied to Montgomery County for development dollars, in a bid to bring a big company to a former General Motors plant.

Still, no one publicly confirmed anything.

In early January 2014, all became clear. In an announcement at the Ohio Statehouse, Cao and Gov. John Kasich revealed that Fuyao wanted to build a glass-making operation in part of Moraine’s former GM plant, serving Fuyao’s U.S. customers.

The company wanted to hire at least 800 workers, and the state said the project was one of the biggest Chinese manufacturing investments east of the Mississippi River — and the biggest ever in the state.

In May, Cao handed a $15 million check to developer and local property owner Stuart Lichter, buying 1.2 million square feet of the Moraine plant.

Since then, the number of workers Fuyao expects to hire has grown to about 1,000, and the company is working with Sinclair Community College and Ohio Means Jobs-Montgomery County to hire the first wave of workers for the Moraine operation.