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Group Critical of JobsOhio Says Former Head Could Make Millions From Deal With Ohio State

Monday, December 9, 2013 at 5:16 PM

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A group critical of JobsOhio says the California native brought in to be its first president may have used that position to set himself up for a big payday later. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports.

The liberal group Progress Ohio has been trying to find out about the deals Mark Kvamme has been striking with his firm Drive Capital since leaving JobsOhio.

Progress Ohio’s Brian Rothenberg says based on a similar proposed deal with one of the state’s pension funds, Kvamme could net $9 million in fees, half a million in expenses and 20 percent of future profits from Ohio State’s investment in his company.

“I think he definitely cashed in on the relationships that he was able to develop in Ohio—better than most Ohioans could,” Rothenberg said.

Rothenberg says he’s had a difficult time getting documents to prove this, but he thinks the deal Ohio State received is the same one as proposed to the pension fund – though the records he received from OSU are so heavily redacted it’s hard to tell.

Progress Ohio is part of a suit challenging the constitutionality of JobsOhio.

Kvamme responded to Progress Ohio in an interview with the Columbus Dispatch, saying the group did not understand the workings of business and venture capital.

An Ohio State University spokeswoman wrote in an email that she couldn’t comment on decisions by one of the state’s pension funds.

“We do affirm our decision that Ohio State has a legal obligation under the Ohio Uniform Trade Secrets Act not to disclose trade secrets,” university spokeswoman Gayle Saunders wrote in an email.

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