log in to manage your profile and account
- Create your account
- Receive up-to-date newsletters
- Set up text alerts
Published: Friday, April 14, 2017 @ 7:00 PM
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 12:56 PM
— Freight giant DHL will permanently lay off 229 workers in Lima by March 12, the company has told Ohio government.
The layoffs will happen at the company’s 635 N. Cool Road location in Allen County, the company said in a WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) notice to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
But a DHL Supply Chain spokeswoman, Lynn Anderson, said the DHL work will move to another third-party logistics provider, who will interview affected employees.
“We don’t expect there to be any net job loss,” Anderson said.
That new provider has agreed to interview the current employees, she said. Anderson said she expects most of the current workers to be hired by that new provider.
Those affected include forklift mechanics and operators, supervisors, dispatch workers and many others, the company said in its letter to the state, dated Jan. 9.
DHL has a major packaging and sorting hub at the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport in Hebron, Ky. That 223-acre operation employs about 2,400 people, and DHL was expected to complete a $108 million investment there in 2017.
Published: Tuesday, January 09, 2018 @ 8:11 AM
— Less than a decade after moving its headquarters from Dayton to Duluth, Ga., NCR marked the opening of a new midtown Atlanta headquarters Monday.
NCR Corp. said its two-tower campus “will provide the space needed to prepare for future growth and create innovations that will help power the digitally-connected economy.”
The company’s new headquarters will be home to about 5,000 employees working in some 750,000 square feet of space. It features two office towers, with employees now starting to move into the first tower, and the second tower slated to open later this year, the company said.
Construction of the first tower began in November 2015. In September 2016, NCR announced it would expand the campus and build a second tower.
NCR said it worked with the Georgia Department of Economic Development and Invest Atlanta on development of the campus to create $450 million of public and private investment in Atlanta.
RELATED: GOP blames Strickland for NCR loss
“This campus symbolizes the power of reinvention,” Bill Nuti, NCR chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. “It celebrates the innovators, dreamers, and problem-solvers who walk through our doors every day and have the courage to build a better tomorrow. Our move to Midtown is part of our vision for transforming Atlanta into the Silicon Valley of the East.”
In early 2014, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution first uncovered documents showing that NCR leaders were considering their second headquarters move in — at that time — half-a-decade.
The documents showed that NCR leaders considered asking Georgia Tech’s foundation to spend up to $30 million to buy land for a new corporate campus, the AJC reported in 2014. Asked for comment at the time, a spokesman for NCR said the company did not respond to “rumors.”
The AJC reported in October 2016 that the consumer interactions technology company stood to receive incentives of about $45 million from state tax credits, local property tax incentives and a state grant for its latest headquarters move.
That’s on top of about $16 million in incentives offered to NCR by the city of Atlanta when NCR first announced plans to move to Atlanta from Gwinnett County in 2015, the AJC reported.
Published: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 12:00 AM
DAYTON — Dayton Power & Light Co. has landed a $27.8 million contract with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, according to the Department of Defense.
The amount covers the first year of a three-year agreement through 2020. Previously, DP&L was paid $83.9 million to provide electricity between 2015 through 2017, according to the utility. The base was given an 11 percent discount on DP&L rates for 36 months under the arrangement, according to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
The latest agreement is an extension of an earlier deal reached in October 2014, according to PUCO.
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, headquartered at Wright-Patterson, awarded the sole-source electricity contract.
Separately, DP&L and Wright-Patterson have a 50-year pact for the utility to own and maintain electrical equipment at the Miami Valley base. The pact began in 2011.
Wright-Patterson is the largest single-site employer in Ohio with an estimate of more than 27,000 civilian employees and military personnel and has a more than $4 billion impact on the regional economy.
Published: Tuesday, December 19, 2017 @ 10:32 AM
All Ohio cities and counties are experiencing heightened fiscal stress, according to a report from Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost, but Springfield, Riverside, Lebanon and Cincinnati were included on a list of 13 cities that Yost said were a step away from facing increased financial risk.
In addition, the report named nine cities and one county across Ohio showing signs of fiscal stress in 2016, the most recent year full information is available. None of those were in the Miami Valley, but nearly two-thirds of Ohio’s governments had more “critical” or “cautionary” warnings than the year before. The same is true of 45 percent of the 247 cities surveyed.
The report looked at 17 indicators — such as tax revenue changes, expenses and available reserves — to create what Yost calls a “fiscal physical” that residents and leaders can use to seek corrective action and avoid financial woes.
“(It’s) an early warning system that can point the way when a city and county are going into an area where there are going to be troubled waters,” he said.
Springfield, Riverside, Lebanon and Cincinnati are a “single indicator away from facing an elevated state of fiscal stress,” according to the report.
Yost expressed concern that fiscal stress was increasing in so many governments while the economy is improving.
“We are in decent — not great — but decent economic times,” he said “To see stress increasing at a time of relative prosperity is disquieting.”
Riverside: Operating at a deficit
Riverside finance director Tom Garrett said the city’s revenues have not kept up with expenses in recent years. Its $27.4 million budget calls for spending about $1.5 million more than it is taking in this year and $2 million more next year.
The city is running out of money to cover that difference, Garrett said. Possible solutions include replacing old tax levies, creating a street repair levy or storm water assessment, or looking to increase income taxes.
“We haven’t made any financial decisions on those yet but we clearly do need to scare up a little more money,” he said.
Yost said spending that exceeds annual revenues was one of the indicators that commonly caused the greatest challenge for cities and counties.
“If you’re upside down, that’s a bad sign. If you’re upside down for several years …. you’re deficit spending,” he said.
Springfield: ‘Significantly improving’
Though Yost’s report says Springfield was one indicator away from trouble in 2016, its financial health improved from 2015 and will improve more this year, according to finance director Mark Beckdahl.
City voters in May passed a 0.4 percent income tax increase that is expected to generate $3.1 million this year and $6.2 million next year. Much of it is committed to street paving and hiring additional police. The city has a $192.9 million budget and had a deficit of roughly $84,000 last year.
“(The tax increase) has changed the trajectory of the financial health of the city dramatically,” he said. “I would characterize the city’s financial health as improving at this point — significantly improving.”
Beckdahl said the city’s financial health slipped largely because state lawmakers cut local government funding and rolled back other revenue sources such as the estate tax. Beckdahl said these amounted to a $5 million hit to the city’s coffers.
One Democratic state lawmaker last week blasted a budget boost he says was given to Ohio counties and transit authorities on the heels of Yost’s report, saying it is “too little, too late from Columbus.”
“Last minute lawmaking won’t make up for the seven years and over two-billion dollars in cuts to local programs and services that taxpayers and businesses rely on,” said Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire.
Cera said the amendment to an unrelated bill would divide $50 million between 88 counties and eight regional transit authorities, with more funding possible if the state’s budget runs a surplus.
Lebanon: Steps taken
Lebanon city auditor Dan Burke said that city’s council has also taken steps to shore up its $97.5 million budget. He said the city has retired a lot of debt in previous years and this year cut in half the amount of credit residents get for taxes paid for working in other jurisdictions. That change is expected to bring in $800,000 a year, much of which will be used for road repair.
“The city’s finances appear to be in excellent condition,” Burke said.
Yost said Ohio’s cities and counties are “generally well-managed.”
“Unfortunately, those leaders sometimes are challenged by financial factors beyond their control: A major employer downsizing or relocating, or reductions in federal or state funding,” he said.