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Butler County Auditor indicted on corruption charges

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Roger Reynolds
Updated: February 9, 2022 at 4:05 PM EST
This story has been updated.

A grand jury has indicted Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds on five counts following a public corruption investigation.

The charges stem from the sale of a property his father owned in West Chester.

The five counts alleged in the indictment include:

  • One count of bribery, a third-degree felony
  • Two counts of unlawful interest in a public contract, both fourth-degree felonies
  • One count of unlawful use of authority, a first-degree misdemeanor
  • One count of conflict of interest, a first-degree misdemeanor

Court documents argue Reynolds used his position as county auditor to influence the sale of his father's property for his own gain.
Reynolds denies any wrongdoing.

The Journal-News obtained emails wherein Reynolds asks Butler County commissioners to make road improvements near the parcel of land to the tune of $1.1 million in tax increment financing, or TIF funds.

The improvements were needed in order for a proposed senior living community to be built on the land in question, owned by Reynolds' father.

Reynolds is also being sued in civil court over a related land deal. Gerald Parks also owned land near the site of the proposed senior living community. In that case, Parks alleges Reynolds tried to force him to sell and then retaliated when he wouldn't.

The Butler County Sheriff began investigating Reynolds seven months ago following the allegations by Parks and media reports. Richard K. Jones says that work is ongoing.

"All of (the charges) are all serious. And if you're in office, it's even more egregious. It's embarrassing. This isn't the first time but our county has had office holders that get indicted or go to prison," he said during an afternoon news conference.

Jones says no other public officials are involved in the current indictments.

He also called on Reynolds to resign, saying, "I don't know how you stay in office with these charges and manage the county's money (and) real estate."

The Ohio Supreme Court could initiate suspension proceedings.

Reynolds attorney, Chad R. Ziepfel with the Taft law firm issued the following statement Wednesday afternoon:

"The allegations in the indictment against Mr. Reynolds are false. Mr. Reynolds has never solicited, accepted, or paid any bribes, and he has never used his position, authority, or influence to improperly benefit himself or anyone else. Mr. Reynolds has served the Butler County community with honor for the past 19 years, without even a hint of impropriety. He is proud of reforming the Auditor's office, restoring trust with the citizens, and fighting for fair property valuations. Mr. Reynolds will vigorously defend himself against these charges, and looks forward to continuing in public service for years to come."

An arraignment is currently set for Feb. 17 at 1 p.m.