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Convention Facilities Authority Pledges Transparency

A comment made recently by the head of the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority has some elected officials questioning the transparency of the agency that will manage Nationwide Arena. WOSU reports the CFA attempted to clarify the statement at its board meeting Tuesday afternoon. Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority Board Chair John Christie said the authority is transparent in everything it does. Christie's comment was a result of recent remarks by some city and county elected officials who said they were shocked to hear the agency that will manage Nationwide Arena will conduct business in private. CFA head Bill Jennison recently said that CAM, made up of representatives from Nationwide, Ohio State University, the CFA and the Columbus Blue Jackets, is a private entity. But he said yesterday that does not mean it will choose to hold all meetings behind closed doors. "They aren't obligated to have open meetings, but they may very well choose to have open meetings. That's something that the board of directors will have to meet and determine. And there's been no discussion on that yet. There hasn't been a meeting so there hasn't been any opportunity to has the discussion," Jennison said. CFA Chair Christie said he's confident any public dollars used by CAM will be thoroughly scrutinized by the CFA board. And the public, he said, will be able to view financial records such as the Arena Operations Fund and Capital Improvements Fund…they just have to request them…or attend CFA board meetings. "It would be a records request. We have a meeting once a month...If we get a request that we have to approve it will be listed on the agenda prior to the meeting being held," Christie said. Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien has taken up the issue and is evaluating whether CAM is not obligated to abide by open meetings laws.