September 2, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
77°F
test

State official resigns

Top auditor for attorney general didn’t disclose that he was no longer a CPA

COLUMBUS — The top fiscal watchdog inside Attorney General Marc Dann’s office resigned for failing to indicate on his resume that he was no longer a licensed accountant.

Rick Houze, paid $90,000 a year as an internal auditor, is the third high-ranking employee inside the attorney general’s office to be forced out this year over background problems.

Records from the Accountancy Board of Ohio show that Houze was licensed as a certified public accountant from 1991 through 1997, when he let it expire. When he applied to Dann’s office this year, however, Houze claimed to still hold the license, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

The attorney general’s office ran a criminal background check on Houze but did not check publicly available Accountancy Board records before hiring him in June, said Thomas Winters, the first assistant attorney general.

“We were under the impression that he was still an active CPA,” Winters said. “This is a high fiduciary position within the office, basically reporting directly to the attorney general. Had he not agreed to resign effective immediately, we would have terminated him."

Houze said he told Dann’s aides during his interview that his CPA status was inactive. On his resume, he stated that he is a certified public account, although he said a version he didn’t submit noted his inactive status.

In April, Dann fired his top law enforcement aide after learning that the man had continued to draw a salary from the Youngstown Police Department. A month later Dann fired his deputy security director after learning that the man had been convicted of involuntary manslaughter for killing someone in Pennsylvania in 1975.