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Hocking College hires law firm amid state probe


Trustees at Hocking College hired a law firm to represent the school while the state attorney general’s office conducts an investigation.

Details of the probe weren’t disclosed following a vote by trustees Wednesday to hire the Columbus firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease. The attorney general’s office normally would represent the college, but cannot if it is investigating.

The law firm will conduct a parallel investigation, and all Hocking College employees are urged to cooperate, trustees said.

The Athens Messenger reported this week that the college spent more than $15,000 last year on a trip to the Central American country of Belize for up to 17 members of an advisory board that oversees the school’s hospitality training program.

A special grand jury had also issued subpoenas to some college employees, the newspaper said.

“The only thing I can tell you is that I can’t even confirm that there is an investigation,” Athens County Prosecutor C. David Warren told The Associated Press on Thursday. “I can say the grand jury was supposed to do something tomorrow (Friday), but that has been called off.”

Messages seeking comment were left Thursday for Hocking College President John Light and with a spokesman for Attorney General Marc Dann.

Hocking College, about 50 miles southeast of Columbus, is a two-year technical college offering courses in such things as computer programming, the hospitality industry and health care fields. The college’s Web site says enrollment is about 5,000.

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–Associated Press

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