Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in federal court to recoup improper charges billed to the state for the upkeep of Caesar Creek Lake.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, contends that the Corps of Engineers has jacked up costs without providing complete itemized receipts to support the price increases. Receipts that have been provided list questionable charges.
“The Army Corps of Engineers has kept tight-lipped when pressed about these excessive and unreasonable charges,” Yost said. “Some of the receipts we have seen are unbelievable — like charges for attending a boat show. We want our money back.”
Under an agreement reached in 1970, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) pays the Corps of Engineers for maintaining and operating the reservoir, a water source for the City of Wilmington. ODNR bills the city for reimbursement.
According to the contract, the maintenance and operational charges are supposed to be limited to those involving flood control and water supply. However, some available receipts list charges for unrelated purposes, such as travel to a Cincinnati boat show, solar panel repairs, a washer and dryer and a set of American flags.
The state’s lawsuit seeks damages to compensate for the overcharges and a judgement specifying what constitutes maintenance and operation costs under the contract. Attorneys from Yost’s Environmental Enforcement Section are representing ODNR in the case.