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Former Ohio University president Roderick McDavis released a report of highlights from his time as president on Tuesday. The report detailed accomplishments such as increasing national prominence, diversity and strategic partnerships among other things. (FILE)

Ohio University is still under investigation by the Ohio Inspector General and is complying with new requests

Ohio University is still being investigated by the Ohio Office of the Inspector General through a series of requests for records and interviews that began more than two years ago.

Most recently, the state’s watchdog agency requested two new sets of records from OU on May 30 and June 30. The records and the investigation involve the university’s actions regarding presidential housing in early 2015.

The new requests asked for a myriad of records involving dealings of OU administrators, including agendas, financial information, employee compliance with ethics policies and passenger logs for airplane trips.

Though the office cannot confirm whether an investigation exists before it ends, email records The Post obtained from the university as part of a public records request still indicate an investigation is ongoing.

As recently as May 26, for example, Deputy Inspector General Rebekeh Wolcott referred to “our investigation” in an email. Per its policies, the office will release reports of investigation when such investigations are complete.

“The report may include recommendations for the agency to consider in addressing and avoiding the recurrence of fraud, waste, abuse, or corruption uncovered by the investigation,” according to the office’s 2016 annual report.

The office conducted several interviews with OU administrators during the Spring Semester, a process that has continued into this summer, records show. Notably, Inspector General officials planned to interview former OU President Roderick McDavis and his wife, Deborah, in February before they left Athens, according to a previous Post report.

The investigation centers around a series of events in early 2015 that started with the university’s decision to move then-President McDavis and his wife from an on-campus house at 29 Park Place to an off-campus house at 31 Coventry Lane in March that year.

Rather than purchasing the home, as the university initially indicated it would, it announced in April that it would lease the home due to a “problematic” verbal agreement the home’s owner, John Wharton, made with OU Director of Athletics Jim Schaus, according to a previous Post report.

Stephen Golding, vice president for Finance and Administration at the time, said those involved with finding a new home for McDavis previously had no knowledge of Wharton’s verbal agreement and “acted in good faith and without any improper intent.”

The idea of the Inspector General looking into the university’s activity was initially suggested by OU faculty that month, according to another Post report. A week later, the Inspector General requested records from OU related to its presidential housing and relationship with Wharton, and later requested similar, more-expansive sets of records in August and November of that year.

Then, in January 2016, the office sought email files from 13 university officials as part of an “investigation involving the purchase of 31 Coventry Lane,” according to a later Post report. The office continued to request records throughout 2016 and into this year.

The May 30 request from the office included financial information regarding donations Wharton, an Athens realtor and owner of Broney’s Alumni Grill, made to the Ohio University Foundation, its fundraising arm. The request also asked for passenger logs of flights via OU’s airplane service and copies of acknowledgements from employees that they had read the university’s ethics policies.

The June 30 request asked for further financial information related to Wharton, including information regarding the lease of 4 University Terrace, a former fraternity house that OU purchased for $2 million in January, according to a previous Post report. Wharton managed the sale as a realtor. In addition, both requests asked for an explanation as to why $5,000 of Broney’s gift cards referenced in an email were not included in disclosures of Wharton’s donations.


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