COLUMBUS— Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced today that an investigation has been opened following recent allegations involving two executives at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
“Charity may begin at home for an individual, but it’s trouble when an executive for a charitable organization uses company resources for friends and family,” Yost said. “I’m troubled by both the allegations and the lack of transparency here, and this office will get to the bottom of it.”
The Columbus Zoo is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that also receives levy funds from Franklin County taxpayers. On Monday, the zoo’s president/CEO and chief financial officer resigned after an internal investigation related to the personal use of zoo assets. Both allegedly received improper benefits, according to reporting by The Columbus Dispatch.
The Ohio Attorney General is charged with protecting and regulating the charitable sector, including investigating abuses of alleged charitable trust. This mission is carried out by the office’s Charitable Law Section, which ensures trust in the nonprofit sector through transparency and accountability. The section ensures that charities responsibly use assets entrusted to them and takes enforcement action when charities exploit Ohioans’ generosity.
Investigations conducted by the Charitable Law Section are confidential. Ohio Revised Code 109.28 excludes investigations of charitable trusts from public records.