Ethics commission unsure whether to investigate Mohip
By Justin Wier
The Ohio Ethics Commission has not decided whether to open an investigation into Youngstown City School District CEO Krish Mohip, according to a letter sent to three local lawmakers.
The chairman of the Youngstown Academic Distress Commission, however, said the ethics commission should not be involved.
State Reps. Michele Lepore Hagan of Youngs-town, D-58th, and John Boccieri of Poland, D-59th, along with state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, D-33rd, asked the ethics commission if Mohip is bound to state ethics laws.
They also asked whether the CEO violated them by conducting business with a company that partnered with a firm for which he had worked as a paid consultant.
The letter followed a story in The Vindicator revealing that Mohip paid $261,914 to Curriculum Associates for its iReady program. Curriculum Associates is a partner company of Education Research & Development Institute, which used Mohip as a paid consultant as recently as August.
Because the Ohio Department of Education pays Mohip, the ethics commission said he must follow ethics laws and file financial disclosure statements with the Ohio Ethics Commission.
However, the letter said the ethics commission cannot offer an advisory opinion as to whether his actions violated the ethics laws because it provides advisory opinions only before the fact.
It asked the lawmakers to forward any information as soon as possible that would assist it in determining whether to open an investigation. The ethics commission next meets Dec. 13.
Because the Academic Distress Commission provides oversight of Mohip, the lawmakers said it has the responsibility to ask for a deeper investigation.
Brian Benyo, chairman of the Academic Distress Commission, said based on the facts, he does not believe there is justification for engaging the ethics commission on the matter.
“The two firms involved in this allegation don’t have any shared ownership [and] don’t have any structured business ties. Therefore, there’s no conflict of interest with doing business with one and having received compensation from another,” Benyo said.
Mohip on Wednesday declined to comment on the ethics commission’s letter.