About Us

About Us

The Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority is a public agency that provides creative and timely financing solutions for economic development projects in Central Ohio. We were established in 2006 by legislative action of the Columbus City Council and the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, and are organized as a port authority under Ohio law.
In partnering with economic developers, government entities and banks, the Finance Authority provides creative funding options for projects in the private, non-profit and public sectors. Our portfolio of projects includes:

  • Public improvement projects
  • Mixed-use properties
  • Capital lease
  • Energy efficiency improvements

The Finance Authority has provided over $4.5 billion in financing and has been awarded an A- bond fund rating from Standard & Poor’s Rating Services for our Central Ohio Bond Fund.

Over
$1,000,000,000
in bond financing projects
Investing over
$1,000,000,000
in Central Ohio

Team

Patty Huddle

President

Patty Huddle comes to us from One Columbus (formerly Columbus 2020), where she served as the Senior Vice President for over nine years, proactively engaging with businesses to develop and strengthen the Columbus Region and leading the “Prepared Communities Win” initiative. With more than 20 years in the economic development arena, she brings a wide range of experience, skills and knowledge to the Finance Authority.

Patty is involved in the economic development community through several organizations and associations, including the MidOhio Development Exchange, the Ohio Economic Development Association and the International Economic Development Council. She received her BS in Business Administration & International Business from The Ohio State University and received her Economic Development Finance Professional Certification.

Rose Roman

Vice President

Rose Roman joined the Finance Authority in December of 2023 after a 22-year career in small business lending.  Her experience in credit analysis, business development, SBA lending and commercial loan department management has led to the advancement of small business lending programs in several local financial institutions including Commerce National Bank NKA First Merchants Bank, Economic Community Development Institute and The Union Bank Company.

Rose received her BS of Business Administration in Finance from The Ohio State University.  Currently, she serves on the board for Community Capital Development Corporation.

Leah Ferron

Director of Administration & Operations

Leah Ferron recently joined the Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority in February 2024 as the Director of Administration & Operations. Prior to joining the Finance Authority, Leah worked for the State of Ohio, Tenth District Court of Appeals as their IT Director where she was involved in the configuration and implementation of a new county case management system and played a pivotal role as the first line of defense in resolving IT-related issues. Leah brings a wealth of prior experience as an office administrator in both the medical and legal professions. Leah received her B.A. in English from The Ohio State University.

Lynda Grant

Compliance Officer

Lynda Grant recently joined the Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority as its first Compliance and Administrative Officer.  Prior to joining the Finance Authority, Lynda worked as a Compliance Specialist for Medical Mutual of Ohio for more than three years.  Lynda also held analyst positions at CES LLC and Aetna.  Lynda earned her B.S. in Applied Psychology and her M.S. in Business Psychology from Franklin University.

Susan Brown

Accounting Manager

Susan Brown joined the Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority as Accounting Manager in June of 2022. She began her Accounting and Finance career in the public accounting sector, working for a local firm for 16 years. In 2018, she transferred to private sector accounting, and has held key roles for an IT security system firm and a biopharmaceutical company.  Susan graduated from DeVry University in March of 2001 with a B.S. in Accounting.

Matt Lima

Small Business Loan Officer

Matt Lima recently joined the Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority in the Spring of 2023 as an economic development finance professional with a focus on small business origination. Matt currently oversees the agency’s small business and PACE direct loan programs. Prior to joining the Finance Authority, he had a decade of experience in sales, lending, and finance across multiple lines of business. Most recently this included residential mortgage lending and working as a securities-based lender for J.P. Morgan. Matt earned his B.A. in Mass Communications from Wright State University.

Board Members

Ralph Abbott

Chair

Ralph Abbott is the founder and principal manager of Prospera Advisory Group which manages a mortgage fund. Prior to founding Prospera Advisory Group, Mr. Abbott formed Premier Commercial Group, Inc. where he currently serves as President.

During his 20 year banking career, Mr. Abbott has been a commercial underwriter and lender. He has originated over a half a billion dollars of commercial real estate loans and was a top ten producing National Commercial Lender at Lehman Brothers. Mr. Abbott is the author of a best selling book as well as a number of publications on private mortgage investing.

Stephen Brooks

Vice Chair

Mr. Brooks is the President and founding Member of the Physicians First Leasing LLC, a specialty finance company providing lease financing for medical equipment.  Mr. Brooks is accountable for the overall performance of Physicians First, including its capital stack, and its overall safety and soundness.  Prior to helping Physicians First, Steve spent 28 years in commercial banking, and 3 years in the private industry.

Mr. Brooks serves on the Central Ohio Metropolitan YMCA Board and the Buckeye Leadership Fellows Advisory Committee. Steve graduated from Albion College in 1989 with a BA (double major in English and Economics & Management), and the Ohio State University in 1994 (MBA in Finance).

Frank J. Capella

Frank Capella is Principal and Founding Partner of Oxer Capital, Inc. Mr. Capella was formerly a Senior Vice President at Huntington Capital Investment Company and Executive Vice President at Huntington National Bank. He has over 30 years of commercial banking and private equity experience.

Mr. Capella holds an undergraduate degree from the College of Arts and Sciences from The Ohio State University and a MBA from The Ohio State University School of Business. He has previously served as a board member of several Columbus community organizations.

Darnita Bradley

Ms. Bradley is the local government affairs and engagement manager at JobsOhio, a position responsible for leading engagement, outreach, and collaboration with government officials and other key stakeholders. She assists in strategy execution and plays an instrumental role in helping to increase JobsOhio’s visibility and engagement with all stakeholders.

Prior to joining JobsOhio, Ms. Bradley served in various roles in the natural gas utility industry and is a seasoned professional with more than two decades of experience in economic development, public policy, public-private partnerships and government/corporate relations.

Active in the community, she serves on the boards of Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority, Columbus Chamber of Commerce and Ohio Economic Development Association, Gahanna Community Reinvestment Area Housing Council and Columbus Chamber Governmental Affairs Committee.

Ms. Bradley holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and master’s in business administration from Franklin University.

Dr. Joseph A. Alutto

Dr. Alutto served as The Ohio State University’s Interim President for the 2013-2014 period. Prior to that he served as Executive Vice President and Provost from 2007-2013.

Dr. Alutto specializes in corporate performance, leadership, and Sino-U.S. joint venture activity. He has been a consultant to banks, manufacturing firms, aerospace companies, health care agencies, and educational institutions. In addition, he is a member of a number of corporate boards and has served in leadership capacities for a wide variety of volunteer organizations. He also serves as a nationally based labor arbitrator.

Darci Congrove

Darci Congrove is the Managing Director of GBQ Partners LLC, Columbus’ largest local public accounting firm. She performs a wide range of tax planning and compliance services, as well as general business consulting, and is a frequent speaker in the community on topics of tax and wealth planning.

Ms. Congrove is a 2003 graduate of Leadership Columbus, was recognized on the Business First Forty Under 40 list in 2002, and was named as one of the twelve Women You Should Know in 2010 by Women for Economic Leadership & Development.

Christian Gonzalez

Partner and board member at Dinsmore & Shohl LLP,  Mr. Gonzalez brings a wealth of experience in fields related to CFFA’s work, including corporate banking, capital formation, regulatory compliance, and corporate governance matters.  On his firm’s board, among other duties, he serves as a resource for navigating the impact of Dodd-Frank Act regulations on the firm’s financial sector clients. 

Mr. Gonzalez is a cum laude graduate of the New York Law School and has a B.S. in Finance from Rutgers University. He was named a Top Lawyer in Columbus CEO magazine, included in the 2020 Business First 40 Under 40 list, and named among the Top Latino Lawyers of 2019 by Latino Leader Magazine.

 

Tenesha Hartgrove

Tenesha M. Hartgrove, CPA, EA, CFP®, PFS is a seasoned financial professional with a wealth of expertise in accounting, taxation, and personal financial planning. Currently serving as the Principal at Ncrease Financial Services, she has successfully expanded the firm from its origins as a part-time tax preparation business to a thriving enterprise with a diverse clientele spanning various industries.

As the President of the Columbus Chapter of NABA Inc., Ms. Hartgrove has led initiatives aimed at fostering networking opportunities and professional development for accounting professionals while actively promoting accounting career awareness among high school students. Her role as the Board Treasurer for the Martin Luther King Breakfast Committee Inc. and the Diverse Organization of Firms further demonstrates her dedication to community service and organizational stewardship.

Ms. Hartgrove holds a Masters in Taxation from Capital University Law School, complementing her Bachelor of Science in Finance from Franklin University.

Board and Committee Meetings

Next meeting
July
17

Meeting Info

Time: 8:00 a.m.
Location: 300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Contact: Patty Huddle
(614) 427-0394
2024 Board Meeting Schedule
January 17
Board Meeting - 8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
February 21
Board Meeting - 8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
March 20
Board Meeting - 8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
April 10
Board & Audit Meeting - 8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
May 15
8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
June 19
8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street, Suite 220
Columbus, OH 43215
July 17
8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
August 21
8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
September 18
8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
October 16
8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
November 20
8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
December 18
8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
2024 Finance Committee Meeting Schedule
March 5
Audit Committee - 1:00 p.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, OH 43235
August 21
8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
September 18
8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
October 16
8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
November 20
8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
December 18
8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
2024 Public Notice Schedule
January 17
Board Meeting - 8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
February 21
Board Meeting - 8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
March 5
Audit Committee - 1:00 p.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, OH 43235
March 20
Board Meeting - 8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
April 10
Board & Audit Meeting - 8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
May 15
8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
June 19
8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street, Suite 220
Columbus, OH 43215
June 26
Strategy Committee - 8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce street - Suite 200
Columbus, OH 43215
July 17
8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
2024 Strategy Committee Schedule
April 3
Strategy Committee - 8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
May 1
Strategy Committee - 8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, OH 43215
June 5
Strategy Committee - 8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, OH 43215
June 26
Strategy Committee - 8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce street - Suite 200
Columbus, OH 43215
July 3
Strategy Committee - 8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215
September 4
Strategy Committee - 8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, OH 43215
October 2
Strategy Committee - 8:00 a.m.
300 Spruce Street - Suite 220
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Frequently Asked Questions

In the state of Ohio, a port authority is an organization formed by a local community that can facilitate financing with multiple lenders to support economic development projects. For more information see Ohio Revised Code Section 4582.

Ohio law allows port authorities to construct facilities, issue bonds and make loans. They can also buy or sell land, including the buildings on that land and personal property.

The Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority was created by the City of Columbus and Franklin County in 2006 and is organized as a port authority. The Finance Authority is a government entity that focuses on facilitating economic activity, capital investment, job creation and retention in Central Ohio.

A port authority can structure, package and coordinate financing transactions with multiple lenders, including commercial banks, state financing and other public sector financing. Port authorities can also:

  • Own property by holding title to a building under a capital lease
  • Own infrastructure that is essential to a project, i.e. parking structures

One key function a port authority can perform that a city cannot is the sale and lease of publicly-owned property. In most cases, municipalities and counties must sell or lease through public bid. Port authorities are specifically exempted from this requirement and can be a conduit for sale of excess government property for the benefit of economic development.

The City of Columbus and Franklin County appoint members to the agency’s board of directors. These individuals approve projects, determine rules and handle other strategic issues relating to the Finance Authority. The agency is also audited annually.

A port authority bond fund is a financing option that is credit-enhanced. This type of funding is attractive to buyers because of its reduced credit/default risk of debt. The program is supported by a series of reserves that are pledged to support the revenue bonds issued for projects. The Central Ohio Bond Fund is supported by:

  • Additional reserves funded with each series of revenue bonds issued for approved projects
  • The collateral for each loan

A bond fund is a unique and important tool for economic development because it enables a port authority to provide real value to many projects for which it could only otherwise act as a “conduit.” Port authorities also pool the resources of their bond funds and state programs to provide financing for projects of significant size. They also use their bond funds to fill funding gaps on major economic development projects.