Why Did Josh Mandel Allow Alleged Fraud Against Ohio Taxpayers For More Than A Year?

Mandel First Claimed Bank Fraud In June 2010, But Did Nothing For More Than A Year While Raising Money For His Senate Campaign

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Yesterday, after months of scathing headlines over his refusal to do his job and being caught red-handed jetting to the Bahamas to solicit money from payday lenders, Josh Mandel’s Treasurers office changed campaign tactics, outrageously anointing Josh a protector against fraud because he replaced two banks accused of defrauding pensions.

But Josh Mandel sat idly by for more than a year after he said our tax dollars were being abused.

In what can only be described as a shocking disregard for the Ohioans who trusted him to do his job, Josh allowed what he claimed to be fraud against taxpayers and retirees for more than a year, despite alleging bank fraud 21 months prior while campaigning for office in 2010.

Here’s what we know:

  • 21 months ago in June 2010, Mandel first alleged fraud by Bank of New York Mellon and State Street.
  • Nine months ago in June 2011, he asked Attorney General Mike DeWine to investigate “foreign currency exchange practices of the custodial banks” such as BNY and State Street.
  • Despite turning it into a campaign issue, only yesterday did he actually take action.

Why did it take Josh Mandel more than 14 months after his swearing in to finally take action on behalf of taxpayers? Why, if protecting retirees and taxpayers from bank fraud was such a priority, did he wait more than 14 months before addressing his own accusationsWhy didn’t he go to work for Ohio taxpayers on day one?

The answer is simple. Josh Mandel has put “election to higher office above every other consideration” and attended just 1 of 15 Board of Deposit meetings, completely ignoring his job while running for U.S. Senate from the Treasurer’s office.

Ohioans are left wondering whether Josh is completely incompetent, just doesn’t care about his obligations to taxpayers, or both.

“If Josh Mandel was serious about protecting retirees and taxpayers from banks committing alleged fraud, he’d have stopped it on his first day as treasurer, not 14 months later after being caught red-handed in the Bahamas raising money from payday lenders and blowing off 14 straight Board of Deposit meetings,” said Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Andrew Zucker. “That it took Josh more than a year to take steps to stop taxpayer dollars from being invested in banks he himself accused of committing fraud is a stunning display of incompetence and the most damning evidence yet that Mandel’s only priority is landing his next promotion, even at the expense of Ohio voters who expect for him to do his job.

BACKGROUND

June 2010: Mandel Accused State Treasurer Campaign Opponent Boyce Of “Cronyism And Corruption” For Giving A Low-Bid Contract To State Street Bank When Boyce’s COS’s Friend Was Hired As A Lobbyist. In June 2010, the Columbus Dispatch reported, “Mandel has accused Boyce of ‘cronyism and corruption’ because he awarded a low-bid state investment contract to a Boston firm whose lobbyist is a friend of Amer Ahmad, deputy treasurer and chief financial officer in Boyce’s office. Noure Alo, a Columbus attorney specializing in immigration, was hired as a lobbyist by State Street Corp. about a week after the firm submitted what was later determined to be the winning bid for a state contract to invest $32 million in Ohio pension funds. State Street is under investigation in California for possible fraud involving $56 million in state pension funds there. The California state treasurer calls the company ‘crooks.’” [Columbus Dispatch, 6/17/2010]

August 2010: Mandel Criticized Opponent Boyce For Investing With State Street Bank. In August 2010, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that during the campaign for Ohio state Treasurer, “Mandel blasted [opponent Kevin Boyce] for investing with State Street Bank, which is being sued in California for allegedly charging that state’s pension funds too much in fees. Boyce said few banks can handle the state’s global assets and finding one that hasn’t been sued by someone for something would be nearly impossible.” [Cincinnati Enquirer, 8/31/2010]

June 2011:  Mandel Sent Letter To Attorney General Asking For An Investigation.  In June 2011, Crain’s Cleveland Business reported “Ohio state Treasurer JoshMandel sent a letter last Tuesday, June 14, to state Attorney General Mike DeWine requesting a full investigation into foreign currency exchange practices of the custodial banks for the state’s employee pension funds and the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.” [Crain’s Cleveland Business, 6/20/11]

March 2012: Mandel Announces JP Morgan Chase And CitiBank Will Oversee Over $41 Billion In Pension Assets.  The Dayton Daily News reported “Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel will give custodial contracts to JP Morgan and CitiBank to oversee $41.3 billion in international assets held by the state’s four largest public pension systems and will sever ties with the two banks that were awarded the work in 2010.” [Dayton Daily News, 3/19/12]

Friday, March 9th:  Josh Mandel Flew To The Bahamas For A Fundraiser.  In March 2012, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported “Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, already criticized by Democrats for missing official state meetings, flew to the Bahamas last Friday to give a speech to the payday lending industry, The Plain Dealer has confirmed. Mandel held a fund-raiser for his U.S. Senate election campaign while at the Bahamas resort, a spokesman acknowledged when the newspaper asked.”  [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 03/13/12]

Mandel “Began Traveling Widely To Raise Money” Just Months After Being Sworn In As Treasurer.  In March 2012, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported “Months after taking his seat as Ohio’s treasurer in January 2011, he began traveling widely to raise money — $5.8 million so far, records show — for his Senate campaign. He is expected to have one of the deepest campaign chests of any Senate challenger this year.”  [Cleveland Plain Dealer,03/13/12]

Mandel Missed His 14th Consecutive State Board Of Deposit Meeting, And He’s Just Fine With That.  In February 2012, The Columbus Dispatch reported “State Treasurer Josh Mandel missed his 14th consecutive Ohio Board of Deposit meeting yesterday — and he’s just fine with that.  Mandel has skipped every monthly meeting of the board, of which he is chairman, since becoming treasurer in January last year. Instead, as in the past, he sent a designee, Seth Metcalf, the agency’s chief financial officer.”  [Columbus Dispatch, 02/24/12]

Mandel Scheduled A Fundraiser In D.C. For Two Hours Before A State Board Of Deposit Meeting In Columbus.  In January 2012, Politico reported that they had “obtained an invitation for a D.C. fundraiser on behalf of Mandel set for Thursday morning — just two hours before the next scheduled board of deposit meeting in Columbus.”  [Politico.com, 01/25/12]

Headline:  Josh Mandel, Ohio Treasurer And Senate Candidate, Skipped Board Meetings For No Known Reason. [Huffington Post, 02/24/12]

  • Mandel’s Schedule Barely Acknowledged Board of Deposit Responsibilities.  In February 2012, The Huffington Post reported “Josh Mandel, the Republican Ohio treasurer looking to move up to the Senate seat held by Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, appears to have skipped meetings of the state Board of Deposit for mysterious reasons.” Huffington Post continued, “According to the records, Mandel had nothing on his schedule on five different occasions when the board met. On two other occasions, Mandel blocked out time for the meeting, but a Democratic source said that the board’s minutes show Mandel did not attend. On four other days, Mandel’s schedule says he met with staffers at the time of the board meeting, but the staffers actually were at the meetings, not with Mandel, according to the minutes.  One time Mandel did a radio interview instead of attending the board meeting, and last month he went to a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., instead of presiding over the meeting. This past Thursday, he did not attend for unknown reasons, but traveled to another part of the state later in the day to meet with business leaders, according to the Columbus Dispatch.” [Huffington Post, 02/24/12]

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Paid for and authorized by the Ohio Democratic Party, not authorized by any federal candidate or campaign committee. Chris Redfern, Chairman, 340 East Fulton St, Columbus, Ohio 43215.