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Ohio Department of Forestry investigated after claims of 'improper practices,' 'lack of supervision,' and 'nepotism' over a 1.2-ton walnut table

The investigation began with an anonymous claim regarding the construction of the conference table, which cost nearly $6,000 to move into an office.
Credit: Ohio Department of Natural Resources
The 1.2-ton walnut table at the center of a new Ohio Inspector General investigation

OHIO, USA — A controversial and unusual table is at the heart of a new investigation from the Ohio State Inspector General's office.

The Inspector General released a report on Thursday detailing several issues within the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) as well as the forestry subdivision. 

The investigation began in 2018 after several anonymous tips were called in, reporting improper use of materials, including the construction of a 1.2-ton walnut table for a high ranking official in the forestry department. 

The walnut table at the center of the report was built at the instruction of ODNR Department of Forestry (DOF) Chief Robert Boyles, and the finished product was 15' by 24' and required a crane, as well as the removal of windows to place the table in Boyles' office. 

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The report also highlights the relationship between ODNR DOF Carpentry Supervisor Kenny Boggs and his son Heath Boggs, a carpenter in the department, after investigators asked why Kenny was allowed to directly oversee his son. 

At that time investigators noted that the Ohio Department of Administrative Services classifies nepotism as 'prohibiting a public official or employee from supervising any person closely related by blood, marriage, or other significant relationship including business association.'

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The report also notes that several products made by workers in the DOF, including walking sticks, puzzles, and coasters were said to be sold, but were actually just given away to state employees. 

The Ohio State Inspector General advised that the ODNR be made aware of its indiscretions, review its policies, and take action against employees if warranted. 

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