LaRose joins the list of investigations into the Teachers’ Retirement System – Ohio

(The Center Square) – Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose joins the investigation into the State Teachers Retirement System.

Shortly after Attorney General Dave Yost launched a sweeping investigation into the $90 billion fund for 500,000 current and former teachers, LaRose said his Public Integrity Unit is stepping up its investigation into possible campaign finance violations.

LaRose made this announcement after Governor Mike DeWine sent documents to the Secretary of State.

“My office has received a referral from Governor DeWine requesting that he review what he describes as troubling allegations about the STRS administration,” LaRose said. “I have directed my Public Integrity Division to expand our ongoing investigation into possible STRS-related campaign finance violations, which were brought to our attention several weeks ago by a tip from a concerned citizen. I believe the Governor’s referral is partially specific to that investigation, but if we find additional allegations or evidence of misconduct, we will pursue them and take all appropriate action under the law.

Yost spokeswoman Bethany McCorkle told The Center Square last week that the documents were sent unsigned. DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney told The Center Square that the governor’s office believes they were delivered and compiled by pension system staff.

On Saturday, Michelle Flanigan was elected to the pension system’s board of directors. She has taught government, economics and financial literacy at Brunswick City Schools for 26 years. Before becoming a teacher, she was a financial analyst.

Last week, Yost announced his investigation, saying the move is an effort to protect teachers’ retirement accounts.

According to the documents, the pension system has been targeted by QED Systematic Solutions LLC, a private investment firm, for the past four years. According to the documents, QED is led by former Ohio Deputy Treasurer Seth Metcalf, Jonathan Tremmel and the leadership of the Ohio Retired Teachers Association.

The Ohio Lobbying Activity Center lists Metcalf and Tremmel as agents for QED Technologies LLC.

Based on a recommendation from accountant Keith Faber, the pension system has engaged national consulting firm Aon for guidance and corporate governance, according to DeWine.

Aon recently terminated its contract with the pension system. DeWine said this is a red flag, calling into question its operation. He also said the system may not meet audit recommendations because Aon terminated the contract.