Lobbyist’s wife works in office that gave $1M state contract to client

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COLUMBUS — A bank lobbyist who has personal ties to Treasurer Kevin Boyce’s top aide also has another link inside the treasury: his wife.

On Dec. 30, Boyce’s office hired Walaa Waeda as a $37,500-a-year secretary to Boyce, Deputy Treasurer Amer Ahmad and other managers.

Waeda is married to Noure Alo, an immigration attorney hired by Boston-based State Street Bank to lobby Boyce’s office.

The Dayton Daily News on Sunday, May 23, examined Ahmad’s ties to Alo, who was hired just two days before bid proposals were due to Boyce’s office for contract work worth $1.27 million.

On Jan. 21, the treasurer’s office advertised for banks to submit proposals to be custodian of international assets held by Ohio’s pension systems, workers’ compensation system and other public agencies.

State Street Bank was awarded the contract March 24, six weeks after hiring Alo as a lobbyist. State Street is Alo’s only lobbying contract, according to state records.

Ahmad said Alo’s wife was hired through normal human resources channels, but he declined to say whether the job was publicly posted or how she was recruited. Waeda, 29, holds a fine arts degree from Ohio State University, speaks three languages and previously worked part-time at a gym.

“Walaa is an assistant in the treasury who was not involved in any part of the RFI (requests for information) process. Not even as someone who copied or opened the bids,” Ahmad said.

Asked why he did not disclose Waeda’s employment when asked earlier about his relationship with Alo, Ahmad said, “It wasn’t relevant. You asked me about his relationship to this office.”

Ahmad has connections to Alo: the two are Facebook friends, follow one another on Twitter, their wives are Facebook friends, and Alo and Ahmad’s wife attended law school together. Also, Alo handled legal filings for a business in which Ahmad holds a financial interest. Alo contributed $500 to Boyce’s campaign.

“We are very proud of the results of our RFI. We have saved $19.7 million for Ohio. We are disappointed that what keeps getting reported is about the personalities and people, rather than the nearly $20 million in savings,” Ahmad said.

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