COLUMBUS Company gets aid over objections

The aid is to help keep the company's headquarters in Ohio.
COLUMBUS -- Over the objections of two Youngstown Democrats, the State Controlling Board awarded financial assistance worth about $7.85 million to a Cincinnati-based company.
State Sen. Robert F. Hagan and state Rep. Sylvester Patton were the only "no" votes Monday as the board voted 5-2 to award a $6 million low-interest loan and a $1.85 million grant to Cincinnati-based Convergys Corp. to help keep its headquarters in the Queen City.
"I'm wondering how much more money we have?" Hagan asked the Ohio Department of Development officials who requested the assistance.
Hagan questioned the effectiveness of the incentives.
Hagan also questioned reports the company was awarded state incentives in Toledo before having to pay some of them back and reports that the company outsourced jobs to subcontractors in foreign countries.
"I see a company that is taking our money ... and investing offshore and outsourcing," Hagan said.
Got training grant
Tom Johnston, chief financial officer for the Ohio Department of Development, said the company was awarded a $200,000 worker training grant for its now-defunct operations in Toledo.
A job-creation tax credit that had been awarded to the company was repaid to the state after it was learned that the company was to close operations in Toledo, Johnston said.
The amount of the tax credit was not immediately available.
Officials with the company couldn't be reached late Monday. A message seeking comment was left with company general counsel William H. Hawkins II.
According to state records, the state's $6 million, 10-year loan to Convergys, which provides billing services to wireless phone and cable television companies and other clients, is to help pay for furniture and other expenses in the consolidation of the company's headquarters in Cincinnati.
The interest rate on the loan is 1 percent, state records show.
State grant
The $1.85 million state grant awarded to Convergys on Monday was for machinery and equipment purchase at the company's headquarters.
The total project cost is estimated at $10.9 million with the remainder of the funding being made up by $934,000 in company equity and $2.15 million from the state's economic development contingency fund, state records show.
The state is also kicking in job-creation and job-retention tax credits to the company. The amount of the tax credits was not immediately available.
The project is expected to retain 1,700 jobs and create 195 jobs, state development department officials said.
Ohio competed with Kentucky to land the project, Johnston said.
Made up of state lawmakers and a representative of the governor's office, the controlling board has the final say over some of the state's larger spending requests.