Corruption audit records ordered released
OHIO–State Auditor James Petro must release records from an audit which revealed alleged corruption at the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District, the Ohio Supreme Court in Columbus held in a unanimous decision in early October. The court said that documents provided to the auditor are public records available for inspection.
In September, the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Warren Tribune Chronicle petitioned the sanitary district’s administrative court for access to records Petro relied on in preparing the audit.
The audit, which was released in August, questioned the practices of a construction firm owned by the Governor’s brother and alleged that the district director exercised his authority over contracts and expenditures to garner personal benefit and political influence.
Petro released most of the papers requested. However, he refused to provide the newspapers with records he obtained from a special prosecutor. The newspapers appealed to the state Supreme Court.
The court rejected Petro’s contention that the records did not have to be disclosed as “confidential law enforcement investigatory record[s],” the release of which would create a “high probability of disclosure” of specific investigatory work product. (Gannett Satellite Information Network v. Petro; Media Counsel: John Greiner, Cincinnati)