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Auditor's report on Kest scheduled for Monday

A state auditor's report on whether Lucas County Treasurer Ray Kest improperly spent taxpayer dollars on his graduate studies at Cleveland State University will be released Monday, Jennifer Detwiler, a spokesman for the auditor's office, said yesterday.

Release of the report is expected to trigger movement on a special prosecutor's investigation that has lasted more than a year, Ottawa County Prosecutor Mark Mulligan said.

"It's my intention to move the case in such a way that the public will see a clear direction within the next 10 days," Mr. Mulligan said. "And that direction would be either a conclusion that I feel serves the ends of justice or presentation to a grand jury."

Mr. Kest spent more than $14,000 from various public funds pursuing his PhD studies. The money paid for tuition and other expenses, such as hotel rooms, books, and travel in a county car, according to public records.

Much of the money came from a special fund dedicated by state law to the collection of delinquent taxes.

Mr. Kest defended his use of the public's money by saying the knowledge he gained in economic development could have helped lower delinquent taxes in Lucas County.

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