The Ohio Attorney General’s office has formally asked the high court to suspend indicted Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds because he allegedly solicited $200,000 from a developer to guide a development that would benefit his family.
Attorney General Dave Yost filed documents Monday with the Ohio Supreme Court officially asking for suspension proceedings to begin against Reynolds for using his office to benefit his family. The documents include a recitation of the facts that brought about three felony and two misdemeanor charges against the auditor.
Attached to the suspension request is an investigation overview from the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.
It says developers Brian Jimenez and Tim Haid have written 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 obtained a 3rd degree felony indictment for bribery on this issue.
Reynolds was scheduled to be arraigned in Butler County Common Pleas Court on Thursday but that hearing was vacated, according to court documents. All seven common pleas judges are expected to recuse themselves from the case.
Reynolds’ attorney Chad Ziepfel — who also represented former Ohio Rep. Pete Beck in his securities fraud case — told the Journal-News they will fight this all the way.
“We will be contesting the suspension,” Ziepfel said. “Not only are the allegations false, but they do not involve the Auditor’s Office or Mr. Reynolds’ work as the auditor. We hope that the community will not rush to judgment in this matter, and will wait for the full story to come out at trial.”
Reynolds has allegedly been working to help his dad sell property on Hamilton Mason Road for a senior living community. Part of the criminal case is intertwined with a civil lawsuit filed by 88-year-old Gerald Parks, who claims Reynolds interfered with several offers he had for his land in that area for a competing development.
Reynolds on Monday asked the judge in the civil case to pause those proceedings while he fights his criminal charges.
“The criminal proceeding arises from the same underlying facts as this civil action,” the motion reads. “Mr. Reynolds and Liberty Way Farms should not be saddled with the impossible burden of attempting to present their civil defense in a manner that protects Mr. Reynolds Fifth Amendment rights.”