As we mentioned in our article, Port Authority…It Appears Budgeting Not Their Strong Suit, we submitted formal complaints to the Ohio Attorney General and the Ohio Ethics Commission. We heard back from the Ohio Ethics Commission, and they suggested that we also send our entire package to the Ohio Auditor.
We held off on sending anything to the Ohio Auditor until recently. We wanted to put together a timeline of sorts, which we did in our article, The Better Flip…A Timeline…Time for Some Answers. We had to go around the Port Authority to get answers to some of our questions because we are STILL waiting on records requests. As of this writing, LFC has multiple records requests that are OVER 30 days old!
As we told you in our article, Port Authority…It’s Not Over Until We Say It’s Over, Rantala has now implemented a one (1) question per person rule for the public portion of Port Authority Board Meetings. This is the only time in the history of the Port Authority that the public has been limited to one question per person.
Since we cannot get records, the only way we can get information on this unmitigated disaster is to attend their Board Meetings. We attended the Port Authority Board Meeting on March 27 armed with our one question.
Guess what happened? The Board went into Executive Session immediately upon calling the Board Meeting to order. Some TWO AND A HALF HOURS LATER…the Board still had not come out of Executive Session. Most everyone left as there was another important meeting that night…the Auditor election. They knew that Commissioner Hamercheck who was also waiting for 2.5 hours in the hallway with the rest of us had to get to that meeting.
Port Authority Board Member Mark Freeman, who is also a GOP Central Committeeman, clearly had to leave the Port Authority Board meeting early in order to give his pitch in support of Christopher Galloway. We aren’t sure how long the meeting actually lasted…Rantala and his rogue board are a real piece of work.
But we’ve digressed…we supplemented our submissions to the Ohio Ethics Commission and the Ohio Attorney General with the new information we obtained regarding unregistered contractors performing work on the Flip House with no permit in place until after the fact. We have also sent our complete package to the Ohio Auditor (Auditor’s Letter) as of last week.
Funny, we just saw a copy of the monthly newsletter wherein the Port Authority’s Annual Report was a part. Seems they have gotten a stellar audit for the past two (2) years. It was so exciting…because someone from the Ohio Auditor’s office actually visited the Lake County Ohio Port and Economic Development Authority to present their “Major Award” for an exceptional audit reflective of outstanding work done by the bookkeeper and controller for the second year in a row. The award was given to the Port Authority for a perfect audit, timely filed with no concerns and is one of the highest honors given by their office. Perfect Audit? REALLY?
Well the 2018 Audit just might need a second look given what we have just provided to the Ohio State Auditor regarding The Better Flip Project. We will see what happens for 2019. You know, we do feel sorry for the bookkeeper and controller. It is very unfortunate for those poor hard-working employees of the Port Authority. But, when you have a boss that has difficulty following the law, there is only so much you can do.
Looks like the bean counters at the state need to do a bit more drilling down into the finances of the Lake County Ohio Port & Economic Development Authority with Rantala at the helm. They’ve definitely got their work cut out for them, but perhaps the state will have a bit more luck getting Rantala to provide records and information regarding The Better Flip Project…especially since it is over budget by DOUBLE…nearly $300K!