- Associated Press - Saturday, October 31, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Deep-pocketed investors in an Ohio marijuana legalization campaign this fall have been the focus of debate over Tuesday’s Issue 3.

Roughly two dozen known individuals - and an indeterminate number of others - will have exclusive rights to 10 initial growing sites located across the state. Among them are an Olympic gold medalist, a former boy band star, a fashion designer and the descendant of a president.

The pro-legalization ResponsibleOhio campaign has argued it was necessary to provide investors a monetary guarantee in order to raise the cash needed to mount an expensive statewide ballot campaign.

Opponents say the arrangement amounts to an economic monopoly designed for personal gain. State legislators placed a proposal banning monopolies from Ohio’s constitution on Tuesday’s ballot that’s intended to nullify marijuana legalization if passed.

Here is a look at donors whose names were released by the campaign:


OSCAR ROBERTSON: Former professional basketball player and Olympic gold medalist known as “The Big O”; National Association of Basketball Coaches’ “Player of the Century”; former president of NBA Players Association; social activist and businessman.

NICK LACHEY: Multi-platinum recording artist who rose to stardom as front man for pop band 98 Degrees; starred in MTV’s “Newlyweds”; current host of VH1’s “Big Morning Buzz Live Hosted by Nick Lachey”; investor in other economic development opportunities in the state; founder and president of Nick Lachey Foundation, which supports children and families in need.

WOODY TAFT: A descendant of President William Howard Taft, he is vice president of development at the Taft Broadcasting Company; trustee of the Louise Taft Semple Foundation, which awards $1.5 million a year to education and arts groups in southwest Ohio.

NANETTE LEPORE: Internationally known fashion designer born in Youngstown; known as an activist, philanthropist, entrepreneur and advocate for American manufacturing.

FROSTEE RUCKER: Defensive end for NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, formerly played for Cincinnati Bengals and briefly for the Cleveland Browns.

DUDLEY TAFT JR.: Blues/rock musician with the bands Sweet Water and Second Coming and founded the Dudley Taft Band in 2007; lives in Cincinnati in the former home and studio of Peter Frampton.

WILLIAM J. FOSTER: Disabled veteran who served in U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division; founder, owner of warehousing business A-1 Quality Logistical Solutions, which started in Cincinnati area.

FRANK WOOD: CEO of private venture capital company Secret Communications LLC, which previously operated 24 radio stations in 11 markets; resides in Cincinnati.

WILLIAM “CHENEY” PRUETT: President and CEO of consumer finance company DMP Investments,; conservative Christian; philanthropist.

JOHN HUMPHREY: Chief Financial Officer of DMP Investments; former chief information officer for public university in Texas; former chief financial officer for public school district in Dallas-Fort Worth area.

DAVID BASTOS: Partner with real-estate company Capital Investment Group Inc., which specializes in urban re-development projects that have included Cincinnati’s downtown and the city of Newport’s riverfront.

RICK KIRK: President and CEO of Columbus-based Hallmark Campus Communities, a privately held student housing and multi-family building company; began construction management career after injury during training camp forced him from the Dallas Cowboys; charitable giver to scholarships for collegiate student athletes.

BOBBY GEORGE: Managing member of Corporate Management Group (CMG), a company with specialties in finance, development, marketing, historic renovation, hospitality and event planning. The Lakewood-based company has hosted events for members of both political parties and launched over 15 successful restaurant concepts in Ohio and Florida.

PAUL HELDMAN: Retired executive vice president, secretary and general counsel of Kroger Co., where he was general counsel for 25 years; board member of Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE) and CenterBank; on board of advocates for the Ohio Innocence Project.

BARB GOULD: Served in fashion, interior design and music industries before her retirement; past board member of Ohio Arts Council, Cincinnati Opera and other Cincinnati cultural arts organizations.

JENNIFER DOERING: General manager of Chas. Seligman Distributing Co., founded by her grandfather in 1933 after prohibition was repealed.

Additional investors named be the group are Tony Giardini, Suresh Gupta, Alan Mooney, David Bruno, Brian Kessler, Keith Orr and Dwight Pruett.

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