Members of the Ohio Republican Party’s Central Committee, who have been punished for demanding more transparency and accountability, shared with The Ohio Star their thoughts on Friday’s meeting, which ended suddenly with items still on the agenda.
Party Chairman Robert A. Paduchik had gaveled the meeting in recess until two Delaware County Sheriff’s deputies cleared out everyone from the sitting in the two dozen chairs set up in the public gallery and the people standing, who crowded the roped-off space in the back of the room.
Two of the five resolutions on the agenda were left to consider when Paduchik and his allies quickly ended the recess and adjourned the meeting on a voice vote.
The Ohio Republican Party chairman gaveled shut the December 3 meeting of the Ohio Republican Party Central Committee held at the Nationwide Conference and Hotel Center here roughly 90 minutes in, leaving two resolutions unaddressed on the agenda.
“We are taking a recess until the hall is cleared,” said Robert A. Paduchik, who took over leadership of the state party from Jane E. Timken in February, shortly after 11:30 a.m., after members of the committee complained that individuals in the public gallery participated in voice votes.
The public gallery had two dozen chairs in a roped-off section in the back of the room for the roughly 100 people who showed up for the open to the public meeting. A handful of protesters held signs and during the meeting and burst into applause or cheers.
The retired Ernst & Young partner and member of the Ohio Republican Party Central Committee responded to charges from the party chairman Robert A. Paduchik and his supporters that he is ignorant of non-profit accounting and that he delayed the resolution of the party’s books by forcing the party’s audit firm to resign.
A retired partner from Ernst and Young, one of the Big Four international accounting firms, sent a November 24 letter to Republican Ohio Gov. R. Michael DeWine requesting the governor pressure Ohio Republican Party (ORP) Chairman Robert A. Paduchik to resign for his failure to respond to Ohio Republican State Central Committee member questions regarding missing funds from the party’s balance sheet.
“As a follow-up to my letter to you of November 8, 2021, enclosed is a letter I sent to members of the Ohio Republican State Central Committee related to unexplained ORP Net Worth Decrease of $270,600 in 2021,” wrote Mark A. Banbridge, who left Ernst and Young in 2009, before establishing his business advisory firm in Columbus.
Lingering accounting issues dating back at least four years have pitted three members of the Ohio Republican Party’s Central Committee against Ohio Republican Party (ORP) Chairman Robert Paduchik over the scope of the ongoing audit of the ORP’s financial records – the first complete audit of the party’s finances in at least 16 years.
The Ohio Star has obtained internal emails exchanged between three of the Ohio Republican Party Central Committee 66 members – Audit Committee member Laura Rosenberger and Fiscal Review Committee members Mark Bainbridge and Denise Verdi – and Chairman Paduchik that discuss the need to improve the financial reporting practices of the ORP to accounting industry and government regulatory reporting standards, starting with an expansion of the years covered by a standard audit just now getting underway.