Ohio AG announces investigation after Columbus Zoo CEO, CFO resign amid allegations

Ohio

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has announced his office will be conducting an investigation after recent allegations against two former Columbus Zoo and Aquarium executives. 

According to a statement from the zoo, President and CEO Tom Stalf and Executive Vice President and CFO Greg Bell have voluntarily resigned their positions.

“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.”

After a report of the possible improper use of Columbus Zoo resources, the zoo’s board of directors started an internal investigation and also hired a law firm, Porter Wright, to conduct an independent inquiry. Porter Wright reported their findings Monday.

Details on what the possible improper use entails was not mentioned in the zoo’s statement.

The Columbus Zoo is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that also receives levy funds from Franklin County taxpayers.

“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,” a release from Yost’s office states.

Yost’s office also stated that investigations conducted by the Charitable Law Section are confidential, and Ohio Revised Code 109.28 excludes investigations of charitable trusts from public records.

Former Zoo Executive Director and Director Emeritus Jerry Borin will serve in an interim role as the zoo’s president and CEO.

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