August 20, 2014

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Hocking College president under investigation

COLUMBUS — The president of a technical college whose school is under investigation by the state attorney general’s office charged more than $25,000 in travel expenses to a credit card, a newspaper reported Saturday.

Hocking College President John Light totaled $9,909 in charges for three trips to Chicago, along with other trips to Nashville, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Fort Myers, Fla., New York City, Toronto and London, The Columbus Dispatch said.

The newspaper said the purpose of the travel is not reflected in the partial records it obtained.

The Dispatch reviewed credit card and bank statements from mid-2005 to mid-2007 for the President’s Development Fund, an account controlled by Light, 76, who has led the school since 1968.

Money for the fund comes from profits from campus vending machines and foodservice operations at the two-year public college in Nelsonville, about 50 miles southeast of Columbus.

Trustees at Hocking College hired a law firm Wednesday to represent the school while Attorney Marc Dann’s office conducts an investigation. Neither the school nor the attorney general’s office has disclosed the nature of the probe.

A message seeking comment from Light was left Saturday at his office by the Associated Press. A residential telephone listing could not be located.

Light’s expenses also included $15,000 for a trip last year to the Central American country of Belize for up to 17 members of an advisory board that oversees the school’s hospitality training program.

He also charged nearly $1,000 for rental cars and other expenses not far from a $1.4 million oceanfront home that Light owns on Long Island, N.Y., The Dispatch said.

The credit card statements also show that Light did not have enough in the President’s Development Fund to pay off his credit card balance. The card had $3,791 in interest charges and late fees during the two years, the newspaper said.

The card carried a balance owed of $13,007 as of late May, when there was $4,103 in the bank account.