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Watchdog Group Demands Answers from Franklin County Auditor
COLUMBUS (Chris Vanocur) -- A prominent Ohio watchdog group has asked the county auditor to explain why it offered a lucrative contract to a former chief of staff.
On Monday, ABC 6 broke the story about the $135,000 contract the Franklin County Auditor's Office offered to Jerzell Pierre-Louis.
The offer came months after Pierre-Louis thought she had been terminated from that same office, and after her attorney had threatened to sue.
The contract represented a $38,000 raise from the salary Pierre-Louis had earned as a chief of staff.
"My immediate gut reaction is: What's the real story here?" said Brian Rothenberg, executive director of ProgressOhio. "Was there a discipline issue? Was there a problem in the office? Why did the lawyer get involved over the removal of an employee? And why was the employee brought back on a contract basis?"
An insider source told ABC 6 that a letter sent from Pierre-Louis' attorney to the auditor could provide some clues.
Franklin County Auditor Clarence Mingo has not responded to ABC 6's repeated requests for a copy of the letter. Now, Rothenberg is adding to the pressure to come clean.
"I think the public has a right to know whether this contract, this new contract, is something that had to happen because of the actions of the elected official," Rothenberg said. "We don't know."
Mingo did not accept requests for an on-camera interview. He did, however, offer to speak to the press about his newly disclosed battle with Parkinson's disease.
Read ABC 6's initial report here: http://bit.ly/1dlyjXf.