Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says his office has collected more than $471 million in debts owed to state and local government offices in a record year.
The attorney general's office serves as the collections agent for all state government entities and public colleges. The office works to get full payment or develop a payment plan with the debtor. The total surpassed the 2013 fiscal year, which was roughly $465 million. It is the highest amount collected going back to fiscal year 2009.
â??Because these recovered funds directly reduce the strain on government budgets, a successful collections operation is one of the most important ways we can protect Ohio taxpayers," said DeWine.
DeWine has recently taken heat from his Democratic challenger for his handling of lucrative collections contracts following a newspaper investigation.
The Dayton Daily News found that state bid documents were changed to favor a collections firm founded by a DeWine political ally over a seasoned collections company.
DeWine's spokesman has said the allegedly altered document was one judge's personal notes.
(The Associated Press contributed to this article.)