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DBJ: Consulting firm, WSU research group dispute auditor’s report

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Excerpt from the Dayton Business Journal

The parties involved in a disagreement over payment from a Wright State research group to a local consulting firm are disputing the state's claims of improper compensation.

On Tuesday, Ohio Auditor of the State Keith Faber released findings from an audit his office conducted with Wright State Applied Research Corp. and Ron Wine Consulting Group LLC. Faber concluded WSARC inappropriately paid the Centerville consulting firm more than $1.3 million for work he performed on behalf of the university's research organization.

Faber issued a finding for recovery against the consulting group, with Wine, as acting president, held jointly and severally responsible. The auditor’s finding also holds liable WSARC employees who approved invoices and contracts between WSARC and Wine, and Wright State University employees who gave WSARC the authority to do business with the consulting group. These individuals include Ryan Fendley, former CEO of WSARC; Sundaram Narayanan, former provost of the university; Dennis Andersh, current CEO of WSARC; and Keith Ralston, former CFO of WSARC.

WSARC representatives, aided by legal counsel from Taft Stettinius & Hollister's Dayton office, as well as Wine's attorney, Ken Ignozzi of Dayton law firm Dyer Garofalo Mann & Schultz, both issued statements disagreeing with the auditor's findings.

"The conclusions reached by the Ohio State Auditor are primarily based on the lack of a written contract between Ron Wine Consulting Group (RWCG) and WSARC during certain time periods, and/or the Ohio State Auditor’s perceived lack of documentation to demonstrate the work was performed," stated Gayle Rominger, chair of the WSARC Board of Directors. "Management and members of WSARC’s board of directors disagree with the findings in the Ohio State Auditor’s report with respect to Dennis Andersh and Keith Ralston."