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Lawmakers ask DeWine for special prosecutor to investigate ECOT audit findings

Say state should bring charges against criminal wrongdoing and determine state's role in prolonged fraud
May 10, 2018
Democratic Newsroom

State Reps. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) today sent a letter asking Attorney General Mike DeWine to appoint special state prosecutor to  determine the extent of criminal activities of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) publicized by Auditor Dave Yost in a stalled audit released today. The lawmakers are also asking that a special prosecutor determine whether state negligence contributed to additional taxpayer fraud, and whether or not state officials are liable for any additional fraud that developed as a result of their negligence or malfeasance.

“Taxpayers, students and their families deserve to know the truth about the extent of ECOT officials’ criminal activity to defraud the state out of tens of millions of dollars,” said the letter from the lawmakers.

The letter follows State Auditor Dave Yost's press conference announcing ECOT may have committed a criminal act when it misled the Department of Education (DOE) by inflating how much time students were participating in online-learning, information which was used by regulators to determine ECOT’s funding.

Yost has taken thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from ECOT, spoke at their graduation and even presented them with an honorary award for "outstanding record keeping." Yost's announcement and audit release today follows over a year of inaction from him and his office since a whistle-blower alerted them to alleged criminal wrongdoing designed to defraud taxpayers.

“Taxpayers deserve transparency and accountability. We must reinstate the LOEO to keep charter schools—and public officials—honest. We reiterate our call for a full investigation into the extent of the alleged criminal activity at ECOT and whether any state officials should be held responsible in this case.”

Lawmakers ask DeWine for special prosecutor to investigate ECOT audit findings (PDF)