Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds to be arraigned this week



HAMILTON — An arraignment date is scheduled for later this week for Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds in his criminal case.

Last week, the Ohio Supreme Court appointed retired Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Daniel T. Hogan to reside over Reynolds’ case after all seven Butler County Common Pleas judges in the general division recused themselves.

Today, Reynold’s arraignment was scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday, according to the county clerk of courts.

On Feb. 9, a Butler County grand jury returned five indictments against 52-year-old Reynolds 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 Reynolds has used his public office to further his own interests.

Bribery is a third-degree felony with a possible maximum sentence of three years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. The other two felonies are fourth-degree charges with penalties of six to nine months behind bars.

The charges relate to Reynolds allegedly using his position to facilitate the sale of his father’s property in West Chester Twp.

Reynolds’ attorney Chad Ziepfel, for the criminal case, has denied any wrongdoing on his client’s behalf.

“Mr. Reynolds denies these allegations and will contest the suspension. We again ask the public to keep an open mind about this matter until the real facts come out at trial,” Ziepfel said.

Reynolds was appointed auditor in 2008 and elected to his first full term in 2010.

The criminal case is being litigated by a special prosecutor from the attorney general’s office and the charges came after a months-long investigation by the Butler County Sheriff’s Office and Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Last week, Attorney General Dave Yost filed documents with the Ohio Supreme Court asking for suspension proceedings to begin against Reynolds.

Included in the documents is an outline of charges from the sheriff’s office investigation and the specifics of the charges that prosecutors say meet the elements of the alleged crime.

It says developers have notes and a recording of a phone call where Reynolds allegedly asked for a $200,000 “cash payment” to serve as a “consultant and use his political influence to get a TIF, tax increment financing, assigned to an area of Hamilton Mason Road in Butler County to assist in the development of properties along the road.”

The AG’s office says that meets the elements of the crime of bribery.

Also in the AG’s request, prosecutors say while serving as auditor, Reynolds made direct contact with public officials from Liberty Twp., West Chester Twp. and Butler County to influence their decision in approving Tax Increment Financing while he was pursuing avenues to develop his father’s land.

“The proposed TIF-financed improvements to Hamilton-Mason Road were needed to pursue lucrative development of Roger Reynold’s property,” the document states. It alleges Reynolds used his influence as auditor in an attempt to secure the authorization of a public contract.

This, according to the AG’s document meets the elements of the crime of unlawful influence in a public contract.

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