Mississippi: Ohio firm must pay $235,000 in failed expansion

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s state auditor is demanding that an Ohio business pay nearly $235,000 over a failed business expansion.

State Auditor Shad White says John Cullen must repay a $174,000 grant, plus $60,000 interest, to Mississippi or face a lawsuit.

Cullen is CEO of Payliance Inc. of Columbus, Ohio.

In 2010, he agreed to accept up to $400,000 in grant money from Mississippi. In exchange, what was then called Purepay Capital LLC would open an office in Oxford and hire at least 60 people within three years.

White says the company never submitted paperwork proving it created jobs. He says Payliance relocated Mississippi operations to Ohio.

Payliance didn’t immediately respond Monday to requests for comment.

Mississippi’s state economic development agency, the Mississippi Development Authority, referred the case to the auditor’s office.