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Ohio Inspector General Finds Wrongdoing By Wright State Company

Jess Mador

The office of the Ohio Inspector General (OIG) has found evidence of wrongdoing by a non-profit associated with Wright State University. The investigation released Tuesday centers on Double Bowler, the real estate management company established by Wright State in 2014.

The OIG found the company improperly paid consultant Steve Austria, a former U.S. Representative. Austria was paid a flat rate of $9,000 per month. Investigators say Austria’s contract “should have been negotiated as a 'time and materials' contract so that Wright State University would only pay for work actually performed.”

The report also revealed Wright State “used Double Bowler to acquire real estate without obtaining prior approval” from state agencies, as required by Ohio law. The office has referred the matter to the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Ohio Auditor for review.

In an emailed statement, Wright State spokesperson Seth Bauguess said:

"The University and Double Bowler have been engaged in property transactions in the same or similar manner as other state university affiliated entities have been across the state. Up until the OIG report was issued the University received no indication that its real estate property transaction processes were in violation of any state statutes. Going forward the University will conform to state statutory requirements for real estate property transactions as determined by the state agencies responsible for administering these statutes."

The Inspector General has asked Wright State’s president to create an improvement plan based on his office’s recommendations within 60 days. 

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April Laissle is a graduate of Ohio University and comes to WYSO from WOUB Public Media in Athens, Ohio where she worked as a weekend host and reporter. There, she reported on everything from food insecurity to 4-H chicken competitions. April interned at KQED Public Radio in San Francisco, where she focused on health reporting. She also worked on The Broad Experience, a New-York based podcast about women and workplace issues. In her spare time, April loves traveling, trying new recipes and binge-listening to podcasts. April is a Florida native and has been adjusting to Ohio weather since 2011.