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State To Conduct Special Audit of MSD

Sarah Ramsey

Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost is launching a special audit of the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati.

In a news release Thursday, the state auditor’s office said the review comes at the request of Hamilton County and Cincinnati officials.  It follows a Cincinnati Enquirer report Wednesday that said the sewer district's former director spent millions of dollars with little oversight.  Former City Manager Milton Dohoney had given Tony Parrott that authority in a six-line memo back in 2007.

The Auditor’s Special Audit Task Force met Thursday to review information and decided a “special audit is appropriate.”

“I’ve had concerns about the oversight of MSD and instructed audit staff to expand our regular financial audits in recent years,” Yost said in the news release.  “It is obviously time to take a deeper dive.”

The audit will review MSD’s competitive bidding process, contracts and payments.

According to the release, “a special audit is a defined-scope examination of financial records and other information designed to investigate allegations of fraud, theft or misappropriation of funds, or to quantify the extent of such losses.”

The office said timeframes for such reviews vary, and no other additional information will be released while the audit is taking place.

Under an agreement that expires in April 2018, Hamilton County owns the sewer district and is responsible for its budget.  The city manages it and owns the assets it brought to the deal in 1968.

The relationship between the city and county has always been “rocky.”  But in the last several years has disintegrated even further.