Former Ohio Deputy State Treasurer Amer Ahmad, who is facing federal corruption charges, hired a former state lawmaker as his top aide in the city of Chicago comptroller’s office, our Columbus Bureau has learned.
After his boss Democrat Kevin Boyce lost the state treasurer’s race in November 2010, Ahmad worked briefly for Cleveland-based KeyBank and then was hired by newly-elected Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as city comptroller. Boyce, who knew the FBI was investigating Ahmad, told Emanuel that Ahmad would be a “tremendous addition” to his administration.
It turns out that Ahmad is not the only former Ohio official to join Emanuel’s finance department. Ahmad hired James Raussen into a $127,300-a-year post as deputy comptroller, according to Sarah Hamilton, spokeswoman for Emanuel.
“As managing deputy comptroller, Raussen has oversight over several areas of responsibility, including risk management/insurance, employee benefits management, accounts payable, and payroll functions of the Department of Finance. He has involvement in the selection, negotiation, and oversight of city insurance policies,” Hamilton said in an email.
In June 2008, then Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland appointed Raussen to be director of insurance and financial services in the state Development Department. At the time, Raussen was a three-term Republican lawmaker in a swing legislative district. Strickland and the Democrats wanted to open up competitive districts in an attempt to take control of the Ohio House.
Ahmad pleaded not guilty to bribery, money laundering, wire fraud and other felonies in U.S. District Court in Columbus. He is accused of steering state business to a high school friend in exchange for $523,000 in kickbacks.