Ohio BWC scandal widens

June 16th, 2005 by Julie Ferguson

Folks at the Ohio Bureau of Workers Comp (BWC) desperately need to remember the first rule of holes: when you are in one, stop digging. Today, reports are that the BWC is considering $80 million in givebacks to employers in the form of an 8 percent dividend in a misguided attempt to demonstrate solvency. Last month, the BWC voted to raise rates by an average 4.4 percent beginning July 1. This “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” scheme would be a knee-jerk response to the ever-widening scandal that now encompasses the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in state funds. Nearly every day finds a new shoe being dropped. Some of the revelations are boggling:

There are many other bizarre twists and turns that span several states, such as stolen wine, guns, and jewelry in Colorado and vacation homes in Florida.
We hope the BWC will drop the idea of employer givebacks until totally independent parties have assessed the full scope of the mess. Sadly, Ohio BWC has already broken faith with taxpayers, with employers that pay premium into the fund, and with injured workers for whom the monies are held in trust. Now it’s time to stop digging.