Darrel Rowland The Columbus Dispatch

Sep 2, 2018 at 4:00 AM

In the huge pile of records and goofy paraphernalia hauled away by the feds from former House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, precious little seemed directly related to the payday-lending industry on which the public-corruption investigtation is believed to be centering.

A sole calendar entry, from July 6, 2015, shows a half-hour “meet and greet” with Ted Saunders, CEO of the company that runs CheckSmart. Also attending the gathering in Rosenberger‘s Riffe Center office was a trio of CheckSmart lobbyists: Chad Hawley, Troy Judy and Neil Clark.

However, hundreds of entries from Rosenberger‘s calendar were redacted by state officials before the material was given to The Dispatch and others who requested the material.

Of course, the original records obtained by the FBI were uncensored.

State‘s top tech chief moving on

Ohio‘s controversial chief information officer, Stuart Davis, is retiring to “take some much-needed time off, rest and consider what the future holds,” Dispatch Reporter Randy Ludlow learned.

The 60-year old was the state‘s director of computer systems and technology at the Ohio Department of Administrative Services. He is departing his $139,000-a-year job on Friday.

Davis received a reprimand this year for soliciting $37,000 from a state contractor to sponsor Davis‘ speech at a conference.

He also helped direct millions of dollars in unbid contracts to consultants, a move deemed out of line and wasteful by Inspector General Randall J. Meyer and Auditor Dave Yost. The Dispatch pulled up the curtain on the practice, which DAS vows has been eliminated.

What does Davis‘ future hold? He inquired of an Ohio Ethics Commission attorney about restrictions on employment after departing the state agency. Former state employees are not allowed to “profit” from non-competitive contracts they awarded while a public official.

Meanwhile, DAS officials dispatched an email to the staff Friday with a cut-and-paste version of a trade-website story about Davis‘ departure. The entire statescoop story was pasted into the email — with the exception of the five paragraphs that detailed the scandals on Davis‘ watch.

‘No records‘ seem a broken record

An investigative report into Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer‘s reaction to domestic-abuse allegations against an assistant said that when Meyer learned in July that a negative story was online, his first reaction was to discuss how to delete text messages from his phone that were older than a year. When investigators finally got access to his phone, it had no texts going back longer than a year — although investigators noted that the phone might already have been set up that way. Thus, there was nothing available from 2015, when the alleged abuse took place.

It‘s not the first time that Meyer and OSU football had no records of an event that turned out to be controversial, Reporter Marty Schladen notes.

In 2016, as Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel was gearing up for another run for U.S. Senate, he spent $2 million in taxpayer money on public-service ads — even though his marketing plan said that wasn‘t the best strategy. In those ads, Mandel appeared at the OSU practice facility alongside Meyer.

As accusations built that the ads were nothing more than taxpayer-funded campaign commercials, Mandel‘s office said, in answer to an open-records request, that it had no copies of emails, text messages or other written communications regarding the planning or financing of the ad campaign. Even though the commercials were shot in an OSU facility and involved the face of its program in a potentially controversial effort, university officials said they, too, had no written records, and the whole deal was planned verbally.

Guess we‘ll have to trust ‘em.