State Auditor: TARTA illegally lent public money to PACWritten by Zach Davis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost released a news release May 5 that found the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA) illegally lent $66,885 to “Citizens for TARTA.”
Citizens for TARTA functions to help raise funds for levy campaigns in favor of the public transit service. The political action committee borrowed $13,885 without interest in 2007 and $53,000 in January 2008. Under Section 9.03 of the Ohio Revised Code, “No governing body of a political subdivision shall use public funds to support or oppose the passage of a levy or bond issue.” As of now, Citizens for TARTA has not yet repaid any of the money.
“Taxpayers expect their dollars to pay for public services, not to influence a political campaign,” said Yost in his news release. “The taxpayers’ money must be repaid by Citizens for TARTA.”
If Citizens for TARTA cannot repay the lent money, TARTA General Manager James Gee will be held “jointly and severally liable” for recovering it, Yost said. Gee also serves as TARTA’s Deputy Treasurer and is responsible for filing campaign finance reports.
Waterville Mayor Derek Merrin filed a complaint with the Lucas County Board of Elections on Jan. 12 .
“TARTA blatantly violated state law,” Merrin told Toledo Free Press in February. “TARTA has illegally funneled taxpayer dollars to fund their levy. It’s an illegal scheme and tax payers are the victims.
Waterville is one of nine subdivisions that participate in TARTA.