CORRUPTION: Bank Hired Lobbyist with Boyce Ties Days before Landing State Contract
Treasurer Kevin Boyce was only appointed to his office 5 months ago, but as Laura Bischoff reports, he has quickly embraced the worst kind of shady activity:
Boston-based State Street Bank won work worth $1.27 million from Ohio Treasurer Kevin Boyce’s office this year after hiring a lobbyist with personal connections to Boyce’s deputy treasurer.
State Street Bank was the low bidder on a subcontract to be the custodial bank for global assets at three of Ohio’s five public pension systems — a job that entails keeping track of more than $23.6 billion in assets.
No laws were broken and Boyce’s office makes a solid business case why State Street got the work. But just two days before proposals were due, the bank hired an immigration attorney with little experience in banking or lobbying to lobby for the contract.
In fact, Noure Alo’s only lobbying contract is with State Street, according to records filed with the Joint Legislative Ethics Commission.
Alo, who lives in Dublin outside Columbus, also appears to have ties to Amer Ahmad, Boyce’s deputy treasurer. They are Facebook “friends” and follow one another on Twitter. Their wives, too, are Facebook friends, and their children are pictured together on the social networking site. Alo and Ahmad’s wife attended Ohio State University law school together.
State documents also show that Alo acted as statutory agent for Five Rivers Partners LLC, a business in which Ahmad owns an interest. Alo contributed $500 to Boyce’s campaign last summer and attended a Boyce fund-raiser in January at the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton.
And this isn’t the first time Boyce has made sure his close friends are employed. For example, he hired a number of perhaps unqualified staffers who were children of Pari Sabety and Liam Shanahan, advisors to Gov. Ted Strickland (whoes previous jobs were at a water park and a zoo), the 22 year old daughter of the former mayor of Toledo Jack Ford , and the sister of a former mayor of Cincinnati Charlie Luken.
And Key Bank certainly sympathizes with State Street, as they had to host a fundraiser for Boyce almost immediately after receiving a contract from his office. Playing politics is just part of the business, I suppose.
But have no fear, as it becomes increasingly clear that the next economic disaster in Ohio involves the overly-generous/under-funded public pension plans, Treasurer Boyce will always make investment decisions with the state’s best interest in mind… as long as he and his buddies sufficiently cash in.