After Butler County auditor’s felony conviction, what comes next?

Roger Reynolds found not guilty on the other four counts; faces months in jail, fine, loss of job.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

HAMILTON — One “bad idea” may have cost the Butler County auditor his career, months incarceratedand a fine.

Auditor Roger Reynolds, who was charged with four felonies and one misdemeanor, was found guilty of unlawful interest in a public contract, a fourth-degree felony charge, on Wednesday in Butler County Common Pleas Court.

Reynolds now faces six to 18 months in prison, with a potential fine of $5,000 or less and may lose his job that he has held for 14 years and to which he was re-elected in November.

He was found not guilty of the other four counts.

Reynolds, 53, will be sentenced probably next month after a pre-sentence investigation is conducted, according to visiting Judge Daniel Hogan.

Attorney General Dave Yost said the Reynolds case is now “wrapped, and justice has been done.”

Reynolds is the second Butler County auditor to be convicted of a felony. In 2007, former Butler County Auditor Kay Rogers pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank and mail fraud and filing a false income tax return.

She was sentenced to a two-year federal prison term for her part in the Dynus fiber optics scandal.

Todd Hall, chairman of the Butler County Republican Party, said it’s “imperative” for him to constantly look at ways to improve the party and to learn from past issues.

After the conviction of Reynolds, Hall said the party may look at by-laws regarding officeholders who are indicted on felony charges and consider postponing any endorsement for those officeholders.

He said the party should consider formal proceedings asking an indicted officeholder to step aside, at least until criminal proceedings have run their course to a known outcome.

Hall called the Reynolds case “a teaching lesson” for the party.

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones believes Reynolds should have resigned after he was indicted by a Butler County grand jury 10 months ago. After Wednesday’s conviction, Reynolds should resign immediately, Jones said.

Jones said he was “very satisfied” with the outcome of the trial and called Reynolds being found guilty of a felony “a very sad day” for Butler County.

“This shows what happens when greed comes in,” Jones said. “It’s so terrible. It’s embarrassing.”

Throughout the investigation, Jones said Reynolds “blamed everybody but the Easter Bunny. This didn’t end well for him.”

On Wednesday, as Reynolds was leaving the court after the jurors deliberated for about eight hours after seven days of testimony, Reynolds was asked for a comment by the media. “Merry Christmas,” he said with a smile.

After the verdicts were read, Reynolds’ attorney, Chad Ziepfel, asked Hogan to ask the 12 jurors to verbally agree with the guilty verdict on count six, unlawful interest in a public contract.

One by one the judge asked and all the jurors answered yes.

His felony conviction was related to a suggestion he made to the treasurer of Lakota Schools.

In September 2017, Reynolds’ office returned $2 million to all taxing districts and $459,498 to Lakota Schools. The fees are monies the auditor’s office receives from the state for calculating and distributing real estate taxes from levies to local governments. The auditor’s office doesn’t need all the fees to operate they can be returned to the various entities.

Reynolds approached the treasurer of the school district and suggested the district use public money to build an indoor golf training facility at Four Bridges Country Club.

Reynolds lives near Four Bridges and the pro there coaches the Lakota girls golf team, where his daughter played at the time, according to testimony.

Former Lakota Schools treasurer Jenny Logan testified last week that Reynolds proposed the “idea” to her during a meeting in December 2016. She and others from the district met with Rogers at his office on High Street to discuss bond millage. When the meeting ended, he asked the others to leave the room.

Logan, who now works for the Butler County Educational Service Center, said Reynolds proposed $250,000 — or about half of the district’s refund money for the next three years — be used to build a year-round golf academy at Four Bridges for use by the Lakota golf teams.

Logan talked to the district’s lawyers about the idea, and she was told it shouldn’t be pursued for various reasons, including using public money to build on private property.

Reynolds then proposed an option of letting Four Bridges build the facility and charging the district a yearly access fee of $250,000. Both proposals never reached the point of being voted by the school board.

On Tuesday, during testimony, Ziepfel said: “It’s not a crime to come up with a bad idea. It was an idea that never happened.”

Reynolds was appointed county auditor in April 2008. He was elected to complete the full term as auditor in November 2008 and subsequently was re-elected to full, four-year terms in 2010, 2014, 2018 and 2022.

Reynolds was originally indicted by a grand jury on Feb. 9, 2022, for bribery, two counts of unlawful interest in a public contract and misdemeanor charges of unlawful use of authority and conflict of interest. The charges stem from allegations that Reynolds used his public office to further his own interests.


COUNT 1: Bribery, third-degree felony. Not guilty.

COUNT 2: Unlawful interest in a public contract, fourth-degree felony. Not guilty.

COUNT 3: Unlawful use of authority, first-degree misdemeanor. Not guilty.

COUNT 4: Unlawful interest in a public contract, fourth-degree felony. Not guilty.

COUNT 5: Conflict of interest, first-degree misdemeanor. Dismissed.

COUNT 6: Unlawful interest in a public contract, fourth-degree felony. Guilty.


August 2021: Butler County Sheriff’s Office begins investigating Roger Reynolds after a civil lawsuit is filed against Reynolds claiming interference in connection with a West Chester man’s land and business relations. Attorney General Dave Yost assigns investigators with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to assist.

September 2021: A special prosecutor from the attorney general’s office is assigned to the case.

Feb. 9, 2022: Reynolds is indicted by a Butler County grand jury on three felony charges, including bribery and two misdemeanors.

Feb. 24: Reynolds pleads not guilty at arraignment in Butler County Common Pleas Court. Visiting Judge Daniel Hogan releases Reynolds on his own recognizance. Trial date set for Aug. 15.

March: Chad Ziepfel, Reynolds’ attorney, files a motion to have all charges dismissed based on a flawed bill of particulars. The motion is denied and the case moves forward.

July 13: A superseding indictment is handed down by a grand jury, charging Reynolds wih a fourth felony.

Aug. 3: Arraignment for Reynolds on the new indictment. His attorney enters a not guilty plea on his behalf. Trial continued until Dec. 12 at the request of the prosecution.

Nov. 8: Reynolds is elected to his fourth full term as Butler County auditor.

Dec. 12: Reynolds’ criminal trial set to begin in common pleas court.

Dec. 21: Jury begins deliberations and returns verdicts after eight hours.

Dec. 21: Reynolds found guilty of one felony. Sentencing is set for about 30 days.

About the Authors