People at meeting

Photos by Taylor Dorrell


Franklin County Treasurer Cheryl Brooks Sullivan wants the public to know that the county will never divest the $33 million it has invested in the state of Israel unless she is voted out of office or forced to divest by the voters through a ballot initiative.

At a public meeting of the Franklin County Investment Advisory Committee on Thursday April 18, Brooks Sullivan confirmed that the county had reinvested $1 million in Israel Bonds using funds from an earlier Israel Bonds purchase that had reached maturity on April 1. Defiant before members of the public who questioned further investment in the state of Israel in the midst of active genocide in Gaza, Brooks Sullivan denied the political nature of the bonds purchase. 

Brook Sullivan recently confirmed her support for the state of Israel after the start of its war on the people of Gaza, portraying her position “as always in continued solidarity.”

When asked about her close relationship with lobbyists representing Israel Bonds, Brooks Sullivan challenged the public to take up their concerns regarding her behavior with legal prosecutors at another time, “Today is not Cheryl on trial.”

Following a series of articles in the Columbus Free Press detailing Brooks Sullivan’s close ties with Israel Bonds, solidarity with the state of Israel, and long history of directing county funds towards Israeli debt, the county released investment reports for the first time in over three years that provide public details on the county’s Israeli debt holdings.

As a result of intense lobbying, only Israeli debt is legally available for purchase by local and county governments, leading some to call for the company’s registration as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agent Registration Act. Franklin County’s holdings in Israel Bonds total $33 million. According to the county’s own public accounting, it has no other foreign investments. At a time of brutal devastation in Gaza, Franklin County is scheduled to collect $1,171,369 in interest payments from the Israeli government in 2024, a decision Brook Sullivan characterized as “not political.”

During the meeting, a member of the community asked Brooks Sullivan, “What about the safety of the Gazans?” referring to the destruction of Gaza which resulted in the loss of at least 34,000 civilian lives before local authorities lost all count. Brooks Sullivan dismissed the question: “That’s a political insight” and later in the conversation elaborated on the concept of moral relativity, “Your idea of morality might not be everyone’s idea of morality.”

In the aftermath of the hearing, Democrat Brooks Sullivan found support from MAGA Republican State Representative Brian Stewart, an Iraq war veteran, friend of Congressman Jim Jordan, and frequent movie critic on social media. Steward claimed that members of the public who questioned the bond purchases were seeking “the most Hamas-friendly way possible.” 

The Treasurer communicated that her concern was profitability. But when community members at the public meeting highlighted that the bond was downgraded due to the risk of a regional war, she resorted to claiming that those present didn’t represent the voters of Franklin County.

When asked if the choice to invest in Israeli Bonds was her decision, Brooks Sullivan confirmed in no uncertain terms “Yes, it is my decision… as long as I am legally allowed to invest in it… I continue to invest in it.