Ohio News Briefs

University in Ohio says new contracting procedures in place

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A university in Ohio says it put new contracting procedures in place after concerns were raised about payments to a consultant.

Wright State University spokesman Seth Bauguess says a new university lawyer was hired last year to address many of the issues. Bauguess also says the university now ensures all financial dealings with vendors are conducted appropriately and openly.

Bauguess commented after the state watchdog on Tuesday questioned $1.8 million of $2.3 million in payments made by Wright State to an economic development consultant.

The Ohio Inspector General said payments of $1.8 million by Wright State to Ron Wine Consulting Group were overpayments or unsupported, questionable or unauthorized payments.

Kenneth Ignozzi, an attorney representing Wine, said Tuesday that all payments were directed by the university.

Execution date in 2022 set for man who killed police officer

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court has set an execution date nearly five years in the future for a man sentenced to death for killing a Cleveland police officer.

Quisi Bryan was convicted of shooting officer Wayne Leon in 2000 at a Cleveland gas station after the officer stopped Bryan for a traffic violation.

The court on Tuesday set Bryan’s execution date for Oct. 26, 2022. He is one of more than two dozen Ohio death row inmates with execution dates over the next few years.

Earlier this fall, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case of the 47-year-old Bryan.

His attorney, federal public defender Alan Rossman, declined to comment after the execution date was announced.

Rendell endorses Democrat Connie Pillich for Ohio governor

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Connie Pillich got the backing of former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell on Tuesday, and the two plan on hitting the campaign trail.

The Democratic stalwart’s backing could be an important asset to Pillich, a former state representative, as she seeks to distinguish herself from the crowded Democratic field.

Six Democrats are vying for the chance to succeed Republican Gov. John Kasich, who is term-limited and unable to seek re-election.

Former federal consumer watchdog Richard Cordray joined the race last week and embarked on a cross-state “kitchen table tour.” A former Ohio attorney general with likely support from former President Barack Obama, he is viewed as among Democrats’ best chances of taking back the helm of the bellwether state next year.

The plainspoken Rendell is another Democratic powerhouse, however. He has been mayor of Philadelphia and chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

He said in a statement that Pillich is the best choice of the Democratic field, which also includes former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni and Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill.

“I’ve got a reputation for being blunt, so I won’t mince words: Connie Pillich will be a darn good governor of Ohio,” he said. “As a former Air Force captain, a public defender and state representative, Connie knows a thing or two about leadership. I’m proud to endorse her candidacy and I’ll stump like hell to get her elected.”

Female customers accuse college taxi driver of sex assault

OXFORD, Ohio (AP) — Police say the driver who ran the “Sherman’s Safe Ride” taxi service for students at Ohio’s Miami University is accused of sexually assaulting two female students in his vehicle.

Police in Oxford, which is home to the university, say 38-year-old Sherman Jackson II has been jailed in Butler County on suspicion of rape and kidnapping.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Jackson has an attorney. The case wasn’t yet listed in local court records early Tuesday.

Oxford police say Jackson was arrested after two young women filed separate reports alleging that they were assaulted by him in his vehicle when they used the taxi service on Friday and Saturday. Police say the investigation is ongoing.

Prosecutors: Ruling shouldn’t overturn corruption conviction

CLEVELAND (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a convicted Cleveland-area politician should remain behind bars despite a U.S. Supreme Court decision narrowing the definition of a corrupt act.

Former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora says his conviction was based on a definition of an official act that the court rejected as too broad when it vacated former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s bribery conviction.

In a brief filed Monday, prosecutors argue that Dimora would have been convicted under the more stringent definition anyway.

Prosecutors say Dimora accepted more than 100 bribes, tried to fix eight court cases and had contractors do work at his home for free or reduced prices.

He was sentenced in 2012 to 28 years in prison.

Ohio adult, youth prison agencies merging office functions

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s adult and youth prison services agencies say they’re merging back-office functions like payroll to improve efficiency and boost collaboration.

The planned merger means the agencies will move to a single headquarters in Columbus.

The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and the Department of Youth Services asked a state spending panel Monday for $1.8 million for rent beginning next year.

The rent the agencies pay then increases considerably, which is drawing criticism from a youth advocate group.

The agencies now pay a combined annual rent of $1.7 million, which would jump to $2.4 million.

The Juvenile Justice Coalition says the extra money could pay for programs to decrease the number of kids entering the justice system.

Beer sales rake in more than $1M at Ohio Stadium

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Beer sales at Ohio State University’s football stadium increased 16 percent from 2016, bringing in a total of $1.35 million in net revenue this season.

The Columbus Dispatch reports ejections from Ohio Stadium in Columbus have decreased since the stadium started selling beer in 2016. Public safety records show 24 ejections this year, compared with 103 in 2015.

Alcohol arrests have increased from 14 in 2015 to 57 this season. Ohio State officials say the majority of the arrests are of people under age 21 attempting to buy alcohol.

The University of Toledo says it saw gross beer sales of nearly $118,800 this season, while Ohio University reports more than $66,000 in gross sales.

Ohio State wouldn’t provide gross sales figures, citing the contract with its food and beverage vendor.