A Franklin County appeals court last week dismissed a lawsuit that sought to block JobsOhio, a new private nonprofit firm that seeks to purchase Ohio’s liquor distribution system for $1.2 billion.
A coalition of groups, including Democratic lawmakers, filed a lawsuit last year challenging Gov. John Kasich’s plan to lease the lucrative liquor distribution system for 50 years for an upfront cash payment.
The enabling legislation created JobsOhio, a nonprofit group that would lease the liquor system and use the proceeds to finance economic development projects across the state.
A Common Pleas judge last December ruled that the coalition, ProgressOhio, did not have the legal standing to bring the lawsuit.
The Franklin County Common Pleas Court last week upheld the ruling.
“There is no question that appellants’ challenge raises significant concerns about at least some of the provisions of the JobsOhio Act,” the three-member appeals court said in its ruling. “However, in terms of great public interest, the most one can say about the challenged legislation is that it 'makes significant changes to the organizational structure of state government’ … This is not enough of a public concern to confer standing on appellants.”
The coalition said it might still appeal, according to local reports.
Kasich, who has made public-private partnerships a priority, put out a statement saying he was pleased with the ruling. “Now JobsOhio can continue to move forward with its important efforts to help create a jobs-friendly climate so more Ohioans can get back to work,” he said.