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Emails show close ties in state treasurer’s office

Just a month after joining the Ohio Treasurer’s office as chief financial officer in May 2008, Amer Ahmad began exchanging emails with Douglas Hampton, his high school buddy and long-time personal financial adviser, according to 1,120 pages of records released by the state on Tuesday to the Dayton Daily News.

In his first year, Ahmad received Hampton Capital Management’s weekly email, spoke at a seminar sponsored by Hampton Capital Management, set up meetings with Hampton to discuss personal investments and talked to Hampton about a state bid process.

“…Let me know about that RFP process. Hope all is well. Doug” reads an email to Ahmad in February 2009. Eight months later, Hampton Capital Management in Canton made the treasurer’s broker-dealer list, setting up Hampton to eventually rake in $3.2 million in fees.

Federal prosecutors allege that Ahmad set up Hampton for state business in exchange for $523,000 in kickback money routed through Ahmad’s business partner Joseph Chiavaroli and Ahmad’s personal friend M. Noure Alo, who is an immigration attorney.

Chiavaroli and Hampton pleaded guilty and promised to cooperate with investigators.

Alo and Ahmad have pleaded not guilty. Alo is accused of conspiracy and wire fraud. Ahmad is charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, bribery, money laundering, money laundering conspiracy and making false statements to federal investigators.

The emails also disclose that Ahmad had a networth of $1.6 million, including two condos in Chicago, a townhouse in West Palm, Florida and $400,000 in investments managed by Hampton. They also detail Alo’s wife served as Ahmad’s secretary in the treasurer’s office.

The emails, released in response to a public records request, also show connections between Ahmad, then-Ohio Treasurer Kevin Boyce and Lois Scott of Scott Balice Strategies, a Chicago-based financial advisory firm. Scott successfully pitched her firms services to the Boyce administration in emails, phone calls and face-to-face meetings in Columbus and Chicago. Ohio paid SBS $165,000 in fees.

Scott is now finance director for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration.

In November 2010, Boyce lost the election and learned that his administration was under investigation by the FBI over how a bank contract was awarded — a process handled by Ahmad. Nonetheless, Boyce wrote a glowing recommendation for Ahmad to Emanuel, who then hired Ahmad to be city comptroller, under Scott.

Boyce, who is currently a state representative, was hired by Rice Financial Products in February 2011 — six months before passing his municipal securities exam — and eventually was assigned to cover Chicago, which put him in back in touch with Scott and Ahmad. A Rice Financial spokeswoman said Boyce did not disclose when he was hired that his administration was under federal investigation.

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