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Former Ohio House speaker received $43K in free travel in 2017

Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 @ 3:23 PM


            Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger.
Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger.

Republican Cliff Rosenberger, who abruptly resigned as Ohio House speaker, disclosed on Tuesday that he received more than $43,000 in free travel and got free meals and drinks from half a dozen sources last year.

Rosenberger filed his mandatory annual financial disclosure statement with the Joint Legislative Ethics Committee — a body he used to lead as speaker.

He also noted that in 2017 he owed at least $1,000 to five entities, including Northbank 503 LLC, which is controlled by Virginia Ragan, a wealthy heiress and GOP donor. Northbank owns a luxury condo in downtown Columbus that Ragan allowed Rosenberger to rent. Neither has ever disclosed how much rent he was charged for use of the 2,237-square-foot condo overlooking the Scioto River. Ragan bought the property in March 2014 for $660,000.

Related: Ohio House speaker rents luxury condo from GOP donor

The ethics statements provide transparency on what gifts, meals, beverages and travel public officials have taken as well as details on their business interests, debtors and creditors, real estate holdings and family members.

Roughly 13,000 public officials are required to file annual financial dislosure statements with the Ohio Ethics Commission while lawmakers and legislative staff file with the Joint Legislative Ethics Committee. The deadline for most was Tuesday.

Statements filed by lawmakers and key staff are available here.

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Related: Ethics statement shows Rosenberger owes back rent on luxury condo

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Related: Special Report: Politicians allowed freebies, favors under Ohio ethics laws

Rosenberger said he received gifts worth more than $75 from 26 sources, including fellow lawmakers, staff members, universities, museums and three organizations where he served as a board member — GOPAC, National Conference of State Legislatures and the State Legislative Leaders Foundation. Ragan was also listed among the sources of gifts.

GOPAC paid for $3,627 worth of travel; NCSL covered $2,532 in travel; SLLF paid for $689 in trips; Columbus 20/20 paid for $10,942 in travel; and two campaign committees shelled out $24,633 in travel for Rosenberger.

Rosenberger traveled to Iceland and London in August 2017 and Normandy in September 2017. GOPAC and NCSL solicited sponsors, including payday lenders, to underwrite those trips.

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Police find man with gunshot wound to the head in Dayton home

Published: Sunday, May 20, 2018 @ 6:13 AM
Updated: Sunday, May 20, 2018 @ 7:15 AM

Video from the scene from staff photographer Jeffery Brown.

UPDATE @ 7:15 a.m.:

A 38-year-old man was transported to a hospital with life-threatening injuries after police found him with a gunshot wound to the head in a home in Dayton, according to Sgt. Thomas Schloss of Dayton Police Department.

The man was found lying on the floor in the home on Brooklyn Avenue, Schloss said.

Homicide detectives were called out to investigate, said Schloss.

It’s not known how the man was shot and his identity was not released.

This is currently an ongoing investigation, according to Sgt. Spires of the Dayton Police Department.

FIRST REPORT:

Emergency crews are on scene of a shooting in Dayton.

Police: Innocent bystander shot, killed by high-caliber gun in Dayton

The shooting occurred in the 200 block of Brooklyn Avenue around 5:50 a.m. Sunday, according to initial reports.

Police have the road between West Second Street and Edison Street blocked off with crime tape.

We are working to learn more and will update this page as information becomes available.

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Sex abuse policy under scrutiny at Ohio colleges

Published: Sunday, May 20, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

In this Nov. 22, 2017, file photo, Dr. Larry Nassar, 54, appears in court for a plea hearing in Lansing, Mich. Nassar was sentenced to decades in prison for sexually assaulting young athletes for years under the guise of medical treatment. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
Paul Sancya
In this Nov. 22, 2017, file photo, Dr. Larry Nassar, 54, appears in court for a plea hearing in Lansing, Mich. Nassar was sentenced to decades in prison for sexually assaulting young athletes for years under the guise of medical treatment. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)(Paul Sancya)

Ohio’s colleges are joining together to address sexual misconduct on campus as part of a statewide initiative to keep one of them from becoming the next Michigan State University, which agreed to settle with the survivors of Larry Nassar’s abuse last week for $500 million.

Nassar, who was accused of sexually abusing more than 332 people, has already been sentenced to 60 years in prison on federal child pornography charges and another 40 to 175 years for state charges that he abused women while working at Michigan State. The half-a-billion dollar settlement is thought to be the biggest in history involving a U.S. college.

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Along with the #MeToo movement, Nassar’s widespread abuse of women at MSU has further widened the national spotlight on sexual misconduct and its glare is already expanding onto Ohio.

“I hope that our experiences at MSU have opened up the world’s eyes to the suffering that survivors of sexual assault deal with every day,” Amanda Thomashow, who complained to university officials in 2014 about Nassar’s conduct, testified during his sentencing. “And I hope that we can change our attitude toward victims. And I hope that our culture shifts from enabling predators to empowering survivors.”

Ohio Gov. John Kasich.(Staff Writer)

The state department of higher education is in the midst of a review of campus policies on sexual abuse and harassment after Gov. John Kasich specifically ordered one. Local colleges said they want to learn from Michigan State’s troubles and administrators said they will be improving their policies so that they are fine-tuned by the time classes begin again in the fall.

“We want to learn from other people’s mistakes (and ask) ‘are there gaps that we need to revisit?’” said Amy Zavadil, University of Dayton Title IX coordinator and equity compliance officer. “I think the changing landscape makes it even more important to do that.”

‘I saw my life right there’

No cases have been made public at area colleges since the Nassar scandal broke. But, in light of the MSU case, Ohio State University in April announced an investigation into allegations against former wrestling team doctor Richard Strauss. Strauss, who worked at OSU from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, died in 2005.

Ohio State’s Isaiah Pryor practices at AT&T Stadium on Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. David Jablonski/Staff(Staff Writer)

Since the probe was first launched, the university has expanded it to include reports from male student athletes involved in football, cheerleading, gymnastics, fencing, hockey and swimming. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has appointed the law firm Porter,Wright, Morris & Arthur to investigate the allegations.

Michael DiSabato, a former Ohio State wrestler from 1986 to 1991, said he was sexually abused by Strauss. DiSabato said it did not fully hit him that he had been abused until he saw the Nassar case unfold.

“When I saw those very, very strong young ladies get up and talk about what I consider some of the most heinous acts…I saw my life right there,” DiSabato said. “It didn’t make me come forward it required me to come forward.”

DiSabato now works as an advocate for college athletes through his own organization called The Profectus Group.

DiSabato has a history of business disagreements with Ohio State over retail licensing dating back to 2003, he said. The disagreements, DiSabato said, have nothing to do with why he came forward with allegations though and he points to scholarships at OSU that he’s helped fund as proof of his love for the school.

Ohio State spokesman Chris Davey said school officials could not comment on allegations until the independent investigation was complete.

To date, Ohio State’s third-party investigation is the most sweeping action any Ohio college has taken in light of the Nassar scandal. But, the review Kasich requested has the potential to reshape methods used to prevent and handle misconduct allegations on Ohio’s campuses.

“When we focus on prevention and truly change the culture, we avoid becoming a Michigan State or whatever you want to put in that box,” said Kerry Soller, manager of the state’s project for campus safety and sexual violence prevention.

‘A real opportunity’

After the Nassar scandal unfolded, the Ohio Department of Higher Education set out to survey every Ohio college with athletics programs.

The survey was the department’s response to Kasich’s February request that some form of review be conducted. Since then, the state obtained information from every Ohio school, ODHE chancellor John Carey told college presidents in a letter obtained by this news organization.

John Carey, chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education.(Staff Writer)

“Each campus indicated it is continuing to make progress in its efforts to make sure that the student athletes and staff members are informed of campus prevention and response efforts to end sexual violence,” Carey said. “Several of the responses highlighted promising efforts campuses are making to connect to student athletes.”

The survey questions focused on how colleges handle sexual allegations in athletics programs, how often training is required for coaches, how students are informed of their rights and the relationship between athletics administrators and Title IX coordinators.

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UD offered to share a written copy of the school’s survey response, which was signed by president Eric Spina, with this news organization.

In the response, administrators described their reporting system for allegations which go through UD’s Equity Compliance Office. The university also detailed its sexual assault and harassment awareness initiatives that all students are exposed to through orientation and other campus programs and events.

Each measure at UD is in place to “ensure that all parts of its campus are safe from sexual misconduct,” and to make sure it’s clear how misconduct should be reported, Spina said in the response.

Responses from the survey are being compiled by Carey’s office for future use, the chancellor wrote in his letter. Though there are no set plans yet for the initiative’s future, it represents “a real opportunity” for change, Soller said.

‘Changing landscape’

Despite the state’s effort, area colleges are not waiting for direction to better their policies and practices.

UD’s Zavadil has encouraged students, faculty and staff to approach someone about an issue even if they are unsure that it rises to the level of sexual misconduct or harassment.

Amy Zavadil, UD Title IX Coordinator and Equity Compliance Officer.(Staff Writer)

“Don’t wait until you’re sure it’s a problem,” Zavadil said. “When you’re in doubt, call (us) and consult.”

Miami University began requiring employees to complete training this past year that informs faculty and staff of their “duty to report” misconduct, discrimination and harassment, said spokeswoman Claire Wagner. Title IX coordinators at Miami and Wright State University were unavailable to comment for this story.

Wittenberg University is always looking for ways to improve its policies, said Casey Gill, Wittenberg dean of students and Title IX Coordinator. Like Miami, Wittenberg employees are required to complete training about their “obligation to report misconduct.”

RELATED: Body found in pond at an Ohio community college

“Continuous training and comprehensive education of all Wittenberg employees and students (is) important to ensuring an inclusive, safe, and mission-focused community,” Gill said.

Alison Kiss, executive director of the Clery Center in Washington, D.C.(Staff Writer)

Ohio State’s independent investigation may be the most dramatic action taken at an Ohio college so far, but that kind of probe does not work for every school, said Alison Kiss, executive director of the Clery Center for campus safety in Washington, D.C.

When college administrators decide how to investigate misconduct, they typically consider the scope of the accusations and what resources their schools have available. That’s because there is no “one size fits all” approach to investigations, Kiss and other experts said.

And while investigations and other recent responses to the Nassar scandal may signal a positive change is afoot, prevention is still widely seen as the key. Colleges must not let their reactions to Nassar detract from improving prevention, Kiss said, because heading off misconduct in the first place is always best.

“The moral is no one and no industry is immune to this,” Kiss said. “The more it stays in the headlines the more we’re going to continue to talk about it, which is a good thing.”

Ohio Sexual Violence Helpline

24-hour confidential support line

844-644-6435

Continuing coverage

The Dayton Daily News is committed to bringing you independent investigations on area colleges and higher education policy —work made possible by your subscription.

Michigan State settlement

• Total settlement is $500 million

• $425 million to be paid to 332 survivors

• $75 million to be held in case more survivors come forward

• Details still needs to be finalized by all parties

• No non-disclosure agreements will be part of the settlement

Source: MSU press release.

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3 restaurants have now closed at this high-traffic location

Published: Saturday, May 19, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

The closing of the Milano’s restaurant in West Chester Twp. marked the third eatery to shut down in the building near the corner of Tylersville and Cox roads. GREG LYNCH/STAFF
The closing of the Milano’s restaurant in West Chester Twp. marked the third eatery to shut down in the building near the corner of Tylersville and Cox roads. GREG LYNCH/STAFF

The closing of the Milano’s restaurant in West Chester Twp. marked the third eatery to shut down in the building near the corner of Tylersville and Cox roads.

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The Dayton-based restaurant chain announced Thursday that it had closed its location at at 7701 Voice of America Park Drive “effective immediately.”

“It is with heavy hearts that we share this news and we so appreciate the West Chester community for all of the support they’ve shown us,” Milano’s Pizza, Subs & Taps wrote via social media. “We are making every effort to relocate our current employees to other Milano’s locations.”

Milano’s opened its West Chester Twp. location in January 2014, replacing Marlin & Ray’s.

Marlin & Ray’s, a steak and seafood restaurant, served its last meal in January 2013 at the location, just one month shy of its one-year anniversary.

The restaurant was one of 13 locations closed by its owner, Ruby Tuesday Inc.

Prior to Marlin & Ray’s, the building housed a Ruby Tuesday restaurant.

MORE: This local BBQ rub declared best, worst in America

“The opportunity arose to sell this property which includes both the building and the land,” Milano’s said in a statement. “We made this decision carefully and determined that the sale fit our future plan and the new owner would be a great addition to the area.”

Milano’s said the future restaurant tenant would be disclosed at a later date.

There’s no record yet of a recent sale. The property was last purchased in 2013 for $1.5 million, according to the Butler County Auditor’s Office.

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Land purchase to expand Greene County park, rec center

Published: Sunday, May 20, 2018 @ 10:56 AM


            Greene County is buying three parcels of land near the Alameda Drive entrance to the Fairgrounds Recreation Center. The county’s parks and trails department plans to use the nearly 13 acres for athletic fields. RICHARD WILSON/STAFF
Greene County is buying three parcels of land near the Alameda Drive entrance to the Fairgrounds Recreation Center. The county’s parks and trails department plans to use the nearly 13 acres for athletic fields. RICHARD WILSON/STAFF

Greene County is buying land to expand services and activities at the Fairgrounds Recreation Center.

Greene County commissioners recently approved the purchase of three parcels totalling nearly 13 acres between the fairgrounds and Alameda Drive.

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County Administrator Brandon Huddleson is set to close the deal for $124,480, according to county records. The seller is listed as Allan and Company, an Ohio General Partnership, according to county records.

The acreage is empty except for weeds, trees and scrub brush. The area is immediately visible to people entering the Fairgrounds Recreation Center from Alameda Drive. There is a parking lot, and a soccer field is maintained at the county park. The Little Miami Scenic Bike Trail meanders nearby.

On the eastern side, the parcels border businesses along North Detroit Street (U.S. 68), including Xenia Car Wash and Xenia Stor-N-Lock.

Cosler Engineering, LLC surveyed the land in March as part of the process for the county to buy the land.

Greene County Parks & Trails has wanted to expand the park, at 210 Fairground Road, for several years “because of the demand for additional athletic fields in Xenia and throughout Greene County,” said Gretchen Rives, GCP&T spokeswoman.

“The additional acreage is adjacent to the park and will increase recreational opportunities,” Rives said.

STAY CONNECTED: Greene County News on Facebook

The park included a little more than 58 acres before the purchase.

“The additional acreage will allow GCP&T to offer additional athletic fields at the Fairgrounds Recreation Center and increase recreational opportunities,” Rives said.

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