CHICAGO — The Ohio Supreme Court has set Nov. 6 to hear oral arguments in a case tied to the constitutionality of JobsOhio, a private entity that leased the state's liquor distribution system last year.
The lawsuit was brought by a liberal Ohio think tank and Democratic lawmakers, who challenged the constitutionality of the state law that created JobsOhio and authorized the bond sale that financed the 25-year lease.
Lower courts ruled that the opponents lacked standing to bring the case, and did not rule on the merits of the case itself.
The Supreme Court has not indicated whether it will consider just the question of standing or the entire case.
The $1.5 billion JobsOhio deal sold in January and marked the largest borrowing in the Midwest for the first six months of 2013.
Gov. John Kasich crafted the plan in 2012 as a way to patch a budget shortfall and raise cash to fund economic development project in the state through JobsOhio. Proceeds from the bond sale financed the privatization of the lucrative liquor distribution system in exchange for a $1.4 billion up-front cash payment. The sale was senior managed by JPMorgan and Citi.
The sale was originally expected in 2012, but was delayed for months as the lawsuit progressed. The state finally decided to bring the deal to market despite the litigation, but the Supreme Court announced it would hear the case the day the bonds were set to price. The finance team delayed the deal for a few days.