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BOARD STATEMENT ON COLUMBUS ZOO ALLEGATIONS AND INVESTIGATION

Thursday, April 01, 2021
Contact:
Tyler Lowry, Franklin County Commissioners, 614/525-6630
Jodi Andes, Franklin County Commissioners, 614/525-5273

The Franklin County Commissioners continue to be concerned with the recent allegations involving the now-former executives of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The Board of Commissioners is committed to pressing for transparency and looks forward to the release of the results of the Zoo Board’s thorough investigation.  In addition, the Board of Commissioners supports conducting a forensic audit of all zoo funds, including the more than $19 million in levy funds the zoo receives annually from Franklin County taxpayers.  The commissioners have asked for the Zoo Board to immediately enhance financial safeguards, including the strict segregation of all levy funds from other zoo funds going forward. The commissioners have also requested an examination of the governance structure of the Zoo Board to determine if it continues to provide the highest level of oversight, transparency, and accountability to the public.

The governing documents of the Columbus Zoo Board automatically make the president of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners an ex officio member of the Zoo Board.  The Board of Commissioners does not take a formal action for this appointment.  Kevin L. Boyce, the president of the Board of Commissioners, is committed to transparency in all matters related to the zoo but as an ex-officio member of the Zoo Board, any confidential information he has received from the legal counsel to the Zoo’s Board is covered by attorney-client privilege and he is not legally permitted to independently make statements on matters covered by attorney-client privilege.

 


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