You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

JobsOhio ad campaign cost state $1.3 million

JobsOhio spent $1.34 million in state grant money on a feel-good marketing campaign to trumpet an economic re-awakening in the state and collect real people success stories that can be used in future advertising campaigns. But some of the testimonials on the campaign website used came from JobsOhio board members and contractors.

“The spirit of the campaign is one of hope, energy, and passion. Right here in Ohio, we’re creating the right environment for people and businesses to thrive and grow,” according to the JobsOhio 2012 annual report. The campaign spent $463,257 on TV spots and $744,743 on print ads that, in part, touted the website, features remarks from JobsOhio board members and contractors, including Jon Leeke whose company Wired Campaigns was paid $138,204, including $25,675 to put together the website.

@thriveinohio - I’ve done business in multiple states, none better than Ohio. Low taxes, great talent, even better people” is a testimonial posted on the website and attributed to Leeke’s Twitter handle, @wiredcampaigns.

And Edward Burghard of The Burghard Group in Loveland offered glowing comments about Ohio’s communications infrastructure and assistance for start-up businesses.

Eric Burghard and his company were paid $91,205 by JobsOhio, according to invoices billed for the state grant money.

The website includes testimonials from three JobsOhio board members: Bob Evans Farms Chief Executive Steven Davis, Reliable Staffing Services owner Larry Kidd and Manta Media Chief Executive Pamela Springer.

Davis is quoted in part saying: “Ohio is where our company was founded – it’s the site of our roots and our brand heritage – and we’re committed to growing our company here.”

The same quote appeared in a Bob Evans press release in March 2011 when the company announced it was moving its corporate headquarters from Columbus to New Albany, an upscale suburb. Gov. John Kasich, who said the company could have moved to Texas, put together an $11 million state incentives package for Bob Evans to stay in Ohio.

“Stories on the ‘Thrive’ page of the ThriveInOhio website were submitted by a wide-range of company owners and executives whose businesses are finding success in Ohio and, yes, why wouldn’t the positive testimonials of board members be included? They are helping elevate the profile of Ohio as a great state for business – a rising tide lifts all boats,” said JobsOhio spokeswoman Laura Jones in an email response to questions about the campaign.

She noted that JobsOhio considers the ThriveInOhio campaign a success. But Democrats have been calling for an investigation of JobsOhio’s marketing campaign, including Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern, likely Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald and state Rep. John Patrick Carney, D-Columbus.

“These ads are an improper waste of state funds and seem intended to boost your gubernatorial re-election effort rather than actually help with economic development here in-state,” FitzGerald wrote to Kasich last fall.

JobsOhio is a private non-profit established two years ago by Kasich and the GOP-controlled General Assembly. During its start-up, it was funded by state grants and private donations but will now have access to $100 million a year in bond proceeds stemming from state liquor business profits.

Lawmakers also made JobsOhio exempt from public records and open meetings laws and most state ethics laws. Financial information about the ThriveInOhio campaign is public because it was paid for by a state grant.

Kasich spokeswoman Connie Wehrkamp called attacks on JobsOhio politically motivated and said that JobsOhio has more oversight than the previous state Department of Development.

JobsOhio undergoes a private audit, has conflict of interest policies, submits an annual report to the IRS and managers and board members file confidential financial disclosure statements to the Ohio Ethics Commission. However, its employees are not subject to state ethics laws that bar conflicts of interest and their pay and benefits are not publicly disclosed by name.

State Auditor Dave Yost successfully fought for JobsOhio financial records for 2011 and 2012 but lawmakers rushed through a bill that bars the auditor from conducting future state audits.

Yost spokeswoman Carrie Bartunek said an audit is currently underway by state staff and it’ll be publicly released. No timetable for its completion is available.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Ohio

'A Dog's Purpose' premiere canceled as video of possible abuse investigated
'A Dog's Purpose' premiere canceled as video of possible abuse investigated

A day after continued fallout from a video that surfaced on set, the premiere for the film "A Dog's Purpose" has been canceled. The video in question was obtained by celebrity gossip site TMZ. It shows a German shepherd named Hercules struggling with a trainer as people on set appear to try to guide the dog into a pool of water rigged...
Florida woman used photocopied $20 bills at Walmart, Applebee’s
Florida woman used photocopied $20 bills at Walmart, Applebee’s

A woman in northern Florida got arrested after she tried to use paper photocopies of $20 bills at a Walmart and an Applebee’s.  According to Lake City police, Brandi Harden, 30, went to a Walmart on Jan. 14 and gave the cashier five of the fake bills to purchase items, the Gainesville Sun reports. When the Walmart employee...
Clark County program aims to stop kids from sexting
Clark County program aims to stop kids from sexting

A group of Springfield fifth graders will have to complete a court diversion program after a student took an inappropriate selfie that was then sent to several others, according to Springfield police. The students won’t face criminal charges as long as there is no further violation, authorities said Thursday. Instead they will take part in Stop...
Family seeking closure, wants mother's body out of car submerged in Sacramento River
Family seeking closure, wants mother's body out of car submerged in Sacramento River

A family is grieving and asking for help days after their matriarch died in her car after it somehow became submerged in the Sacramento River. KTXL reported that the Sacramento Sheriff's Department said it believes Nichelle Johnson, 48, was driving her car Sunday and may have driven her car into the river on the foggy night. KXTV reported that Johnson...
Air Force One transition report shows Trump's plane was once Paul Allen's
Air Force One transition report shows Trump's plane was once Paul Allen's

When asked what they miss most about the presidency, former presidents often say Air Force One. But CBS News reports that, for Trump, the transition from one wide-body plane to a wider-bodied plane might be considered a downgrade. CBS News compared the history of Air Force One to that of Trump’s plane. Their analysis revealed...
More Stories