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Company With Ties To Lobbyist John Raphael Loses Convention Facilities Contract

Centerplate has been removed as the food vendor at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.   Board members of the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority made the decision at a special meeting Thursday night.

The authority’s executive director, Don Brown, says improper influence was involved in the awarding of the contract two years ago. 

“The public bid that was done in 2014 was tainted by undue influence; there was collusion involved,” Brown says.  “And so we had no choice once we were aware of that but to void the contract that resulted from a tainted procurement.”

Former Democratic lobbyist John Raphael was on the Authority Board at the time Centerplate was awarded the contract. Raphael was also on Centerplate's payroll. The operations manager of the convention center Rodney Myers was also let go after it was discovered he was being paid by Centerplate.

The FBI and the Ohio Ethics Commission continue to investigate the matter.

Raphael is awaiting sentencing next month after being convicted of extortion in the Redflex Camera case.