This afternoon, Wright State University filed a civil lawsuit against the Wright State Applied Research Corporation (WSARC) in an effort to prevent the organization from ignoring its obligations to Wright State University and, more importantly, Ohio taxpayers.
A number of years ago, the university created WSARC as a completely separate but closely affiliated corporation to enhance the university’s involvement in applied research and grow the university’s relationships with the defense industry, specifically Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Until very recently the corporation has struggled to survive, and it exists today as a direct result of the university’s significant investments of human and financial resources. WSARC recently declared that it is financially stable, and the university responded that it would no longer offer direct financial support to the corporation.
Through discussions that have taken place over the past several months, it has become clear that the corporation wants to walk away from responsibilities and obligations associated with Wright State. The university believes that the corporation may be in possession of capital assets that must be returned before the university could support the proposed separation. WSARC has also refused the university’s demands for the return of the funds invested by Wright State to support the corporation.
The university’s lawsuit seeks a court order declaring the corporation’s obligations to the public, requiring the corporation to return state property and funds.
The Wright State Applied Research Corporation, which seeks to re-brand itself as Parallax Advanced Research Corporation (PARC), has been embroiled in controversy for most of its existence. While that action may bring a new name to the organization, it does not erase the corporation’s history. WSARC operates as an independent corporation and has been the subject of numerous lawsuits and both federal and state investigations over the past few years. Some of those investigations have resulted in the announcement of findings for recovery of state funds — which remain outstanding even today.
The complaint filed today follows several months of attempts by the university to engage the corporation’s leadership in a deliberate conversation to prepare a separation plan that includes return and repayment of state assets and recognizes the university’s rights. The corporation continues to move forward with its plan to separate.
This legal challenge against the Wright State Applied Research Corporation — soon to be Parallax Advanced Research Corporation — is an important matter, and the university intends to vigorously advocate for and protect the interests of the university, its research partners, and taxpayers.