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Ex-JobsOhio head lands lucrative deal with Ohio State

Published: Wed, October 23, 2013 @ 12:53 p.m.

CLEVELAND (AP) — An investment fund co-founded by Republican Gov. John Kasich’s former jobs czar has landed a lucrative business deal totaling $50 million with Ohio State University, whose ex-president is also closely tied to the governor.

Ohio State’s financial commitment to the fledgling venture capital fund Drive Capital came in July, shortly after school President Gordon Gee retired and moved into an emeritus role, spokeswoman Gayle Saunders told the Northeast Ohio Media Group.

One of the fund’s founders was Mark Kvamme, a former Silicon Valley venture capitalist who moved to Ohio in 2011 to lead Kasich’s economic development efforts.

Kvamme had two previous positions before taking the helm of JobsOhio, the governor’s signature private job-creation program. Gee sits on JobsOhio’s board.

Kvamme left JobsOhio for the private sector in November. Gee retired as Ohio State president in July after remarks he made disparaging Roman Catholics and Southeastern Conference schools became public. Kasich tapped Gee Monday to lead a yearlong statewide review of ways to improve the value of higher education.

A Kasich spokesman said the governor did not lobby Ohio State on Kvamme’s behalf.

In an email to the media group, Kvamme confirmed the investment but said he couldn’t provide details under rules set by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. At $50 million, the investment would make up more than a quarter of what Drive Capital has reported raising so far.

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