Ethics official comments on potential conflicts, but not on Mohip
Awarding contracts to business associates is unethical, the Ohio Ethics Commission’s executive director says.
“If someone is a consultant with a firm, and they’re engaged in an activity at that point in time ... that arrangement with that person” is prohibited because of the nature of their relationship, said commission Executive Director Paul Nick, following Wednesday’s ethics commission’s meeting in Columbus.
“So during that period of time that they have that relationship, that would be considered a business associate – so you cannot award contracts to that business associate,” he told The Vindicator after the session.
The ethics commission was recently contacted by state Reps. Michele Lepore Hagan of Youngstown, D-58th, and John Boccieri of Poland, D-59th, along with state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, D-33rd, who asked if Youngstown City Schools CEO Krish Mohip violated state ethics rules by conducting business with a company that partnered with a firm for which he had worked as a paid consultant.
The commission has not decided whether to open an investigation into the matter.
The three Valley lawmakers’ letter to the commission followed a story in The Vindicator revealing that the school district paid $261,914 to Curriculum Associates for its iReady program. Curriculum Associates is a partner company of Education Research & Development Institute [ERDI], which used Mohip as a paid consultant as recently as August.
Although Nick would not discuss any ongoing investigations or persons in particular, he did discuss generic examples of similar situations.
Read more about the situation in Thursday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.