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Ohio GOP leader questions previous state treasurer's honesty

Associated Press • Aug 27, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Then-Ohio Treasurer Kevin Boyce learned just after losing the 2010 election that a top aide was under federal investigation yet proceeded to recommend the man for a job with the city of Chicago, public documents show.

The timeline was revealed in an Ohio Treasurer's Office memo released by the administration of current Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel.

Boyce's former deputy treasurer, Amer Ahmad, was charged last week with conspiracy and wire fraud in an alleged kickback scheme along with Mohammed Noure Alo, a Columbus attorney and bank lobbyist. Ahmad also was charged with money laundering, conspiracy to launder money, bribery and making false statements.

Both men have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Boyce, a Columbus Democrat now serving as a representative in the Ohio House, described himself last week as "shocked and forever stunned" by details of the indictment of Ahmad.

But Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges said Monday that new revelations regarding the timeline of the investigation raise questions about Boyce's surprised reaction.

"For three years he has been silent, he's been lying by omission on this particular issue, and then last week when asked to give a comment on it, it was a lie of commission and now he's just being dishonest," Borges said.

Ahmad was under investigation five months before Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel hired him as the city's comptroller in April 2011, The Chicago Tribune reported Saturday. Boyce had recommended Ahmad for the job.

The treasurer's office memo indicates Boyce became aware the FBI was investigating Ahmad around Nov. 16, 2010, though in relation to a state contract with State Street Bank that did not make its way into last week's indictment. Boyce learned of the probe days after he lost the election to Mandel.

In a new statement Monday, Boyce said he was shocked "at the depth and seriousness" of the indictments.

"This issue will not be, and cannot be, resolved in the normal political exchange of he-said, she-said politics," Boyce said. "The criminal justice process will answer all questions."

The memo from Boyce's general counsel at the time, Theresa L. Carter, said a "very comprehensive" subpoena was delivered about two months later, on Jan. 4, 2011.

As Ahmad sought the Chicago comptroller job, Boyce provided a positive review, according to information from Emanuel's office.

Emanuel, then mayor-elect, was praised by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce in April 2011 for his new financial team. Among endorsements was one from Boyce.

"Amer Ahmad will be a tremendous addition to the Emanuel administration," he was quoted as saying. "As deputy treasurer and chief financial officer within my administration, he oversaw the state's $10 billion-dollar fixed income portfolio and $150 billion-dollar pension fund custodial agreements. His financial skills are unmatched and his dedication to public service unrivaled. I am certain that the City of Chicago will enhanced by the tenure of his service."

Ahmad quit his job as comptroller ahead of last week's indictments, saying he was pursuing an opportunity in the private sector.

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