How Wright State’s debate became a debacle

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Produced by Lynn Hulsey

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Public support poured in for this week's Republican National Convention in Cleveland: $10 million from JobsOhio, $2.5 million each from Cleveland and Cuyahoga County and $50 million from the federal government.

But the same week, Wright State University had to pull the plug on hosting the year's first general election presidential debate — which could become the most watched in U.S. history — because of lacking financial support from the public and private interests.

Dayton and Fairborn put in no cash, nor did JobsOhio. Montgomery County pledged $25,000 in direct funding. State lawmakers put out $220,000. Private donations were scarce.

In a special report, the I-Team dug into the numbers and spoke to state leaders about why costs went up and financial support wilted.

The I-Team found ballooning security costs pushed the debate's potential price up to possibly $11 million. So what was supposed to be an event costing up to $5 million in outside funding ended up costing the state and WSU $2.5 million with no debate to show for it.

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