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Josh Mandel in Florida Receiving Award

7/20/2014, 7:44 p.m.

Josh Mandel in Florida Receiving Award

While Ohioans Suffer

Mandel has failed to implement programming, politicizes Treasurer’s office

COLUMBUS - Today it was announced that Josh Mandel traveled to Orlando, Florida to receive an award from the Association of Government Accountants as an emerging leader, despite the fact that Mandel has failed to capitalize on numerous programs ready to be implemented through the state Treasurer’s office.

The announcement of the award comes only weeks after the conclusion of the trial surrounding illegal campaign contributions made to Mandel by businessman Ben Suarez, who has been found guilty on obstruction of justice charges.

Moving Ohio Forward was unable to reach anyone from the AGA familiar with the Emerging Leader Award’s selection process, however materials obtained from their website demonstrate that anyone is able to nominate a recipient.

“I’m sure the Association of Government Accountants is a credible organization, but it’s unfortunate that seemingly they haven’t been told the full story of what’s happening in this Treasurer’s office,” said MOF spokesman Ryan Monell. “While he’s spent the last three years campaigning and getting awards, his office is failing to implement programming that could benefit hundreds of thousands of Ohioans.”

MOF pointed to the following examples of initiatives that Mandel has failed to capitalize on:

Mandel’s has perpetually underutilized GrowNOW and other link deposit programming. The GrowNOW program was established to help small businesses with interest rate reductions on small business loans. While Mandel says he is small business friendly, he has overwhelmingly underutilized link-deposit programming. While $1.3 billion has been set aside, Mandel has only utilized 16% of funding that could potentially benefit hundreds of thousands of private small businesses. [Patrick Harris, proponent testimony on HB 221, Ohio House State & Local Government committee, February 11, 2014]

Specifically, while the legislature expanded AgLink, Mandel has not capitalized on the available support for farmers. While the Ohio General Assembly in 2012 unanimously passed HB 415 to expand the amount of money that Mandel must attempt to place in agricultural linked deposits by $40 million, Mandel has failed to do so. Today the program is underutilized by $100 million, as only $60 million of the $165 million available is being utilized to help farmers, even though the money has been set aside for revolving credit lines or loans specifically for Ohio’s largest industry - agriculture.[Patrick Harris, proponent testimony on HB 221, Ohio House State & Local Government committee, February 11, 2014]

Mandel also has failed to capitalize on the Treasurer’s Renew and Rebuild Program, despite disastrous conditions during his tenure. In 2012, 85 of 88 Ohio counties were deemed disaster areas from the USDA, allowing for many across the state to be eligible for assistance through the Renew and Rebuild Program. While the program would have provided victims of disaster with interest rate reductions on loans to make repairs, according to annual reports released by Mandel’s office, $0 was allocated in both Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013.

This all comes at the same time Mandel has spent almost $100,000 in public funds to hold phone townhall meetings in a year he is on the ballot. Mandel "has spent nearly $100,000 taxpayer dollars on a series of so-called 'tele-townhall' meetings, which many have seen as thinly disguised campaign-style events designed to promote his re-election this November. Many of the questions and answers in Mandel's tele-townhalls involve political issues that have nothing to do with his duties as Treasurer. [Cleveland Plain Dealer 6/22/14]