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    TAFT REPORTS GROWTH IN FINANCIAL HOLDINGS

    BY Jon Craig
    04/17/2001
    by Jon Craig on 4/17/01.

    Gov. Bob Taft's investment portfolio continues to grow with his tenure as Ohio's governor.

    Taft had investments of $ 1,000 or more in each of 66 companies in 2000, according to financial disclosure statements filed yesterday with the Ohio Ethics Commission. That's up from 40 companies in 1999.

    Taft's financial interests are handled by money managers through trust and management accounts and an IRA distribution from his late father. Including stocks and bonds, Taft reported investments with 92 companies or public authorities last year, up slightly from 1999. Taft listed one creditor, Huntington National Bank.

    The governor and other statewide officeholders are required by law to file annual financial statements on federal income-tax-return filing day. They are not required to list specific totals in the ethics report. The report contains sources of income and gifts, but only general dollar figures.

    Taft's investment income is on top of his $ 123,189 salary as Ohio's 67th governor.

    Taft reported about $ 17,400 in state-financed travel last year, mostly paid for by the Ohio Department of Transportation or the State Highway Patrol.

    Taft also reported receiving gifts, including eight tickets for each Ohio State University football game, a weekend trip from his senior staff, a personalized Columbus Blue Jackets jersey and several gifts from a trade mission to Japan that he donated to the state of Ohio.

    In addition to his salary as secretary of state, J. Kenneth Blackwell reported interest and dividends, and undisclosed income as a board member with ICMA Retirement.

    Blackwell also reported extensive travel, of which about $ 2,900 was paid by state taxpayers. Blackwell's other airfare, lodging and parking included more than $ 11,000 paid by the U.S. Census Monitoring Board, $ 1,890 by the National Electronic Commerce Coordinating Council, $ 1,142 by the National Black Caucus of Local Black Elected Officials, $ 830 by the Black Alliance for Educational Options, $ 718 by Citizens for a Sound Economy and $ 552 by the Federal Election Commission.

    Attorney General Betty D. Montgomery reported nearly $ 8,900 in travel costs last year including five meetings of the National Association of Attorneys General. An additional $ 414 was paid by the Women State Legislators Advisory Committee.

    Montgomery was chairwoman of the National Association of Attorneys General consumer committee, a board member with Central Benefits Insurance, chairwoman of the Jo Ann Davidson Ohio Leadership Institute and of the former House speaker 's Legacy Scholarship Committee.

    Treasurer Joseph T. Deters' main source of income was his state job, followed by a board seat on the St. Joseph's Cemetery Association, interest and dividends. He also is a board member for the University of Cincinnati, where he has served since 1996, and the Four Bridges Homeowners Association.

    Deters listed nearly $ 22,800 in travel expenses paid by his campaign committee, Deters for Ohio's Future.

    In addition to his income as state auditor, Jim Petro reported investments of more than $ 1,000 in more than 160 funds or companies. Petro also reported debts with All Stater Publishing and Highwired.com.

    Blackwell, Deters, Montgomery, O'Connor, Petro and Taft disclosed they were among 29 public officials entertained by Ameritech Ohio at the Republican National Convention in July, at a cost of $ 30.56 apiece.

    All six statewide officeholders reported receiving $ 4.31 in food and beverages from American Management Systems, a state contractor, at a reception at the GOP convention.

    All but Montgomery reported being entertained by Philip Morris Management Corp. during the convention at a cost of $ 18.18 apiece.

    jcraig@dispatch.com

    CORRECTION:

    CORRECTION PUBLISHED APRIL 24, 2001 -- Gov. Bob Taftand state Treasurer Joseph T. Deters were not among 29 public officialsentertained in July by Ameritech Ohio and Philip Morris Management Corp., asreported on Page E4 of the Metro section last Tuesday. Their names wereincorrectly included on attendence lists submitted by those companies to thestate ethics commission.

    GRAPHIC: Phot, Gov. Bob Taft also reported about $ 17,400 in state- financed travel