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Butler County politician Mike Fox has died

Mike Fox arriving to a court proceeding during his legal case.

Hamilton native and former Butler County politician Michael A. Fox has died, according to the Journal-News, which cites people close to the family. He was 73.

Fox was a long-time Republican politician, serving as an Ohio state representative for some two decades and as Butler County commissioner from 1997 to 2007. He then headed up Butler County Children Services until 2009.

"In the 1980s, he was considered an up-and-comer," remembers WVXU Senior Political Analyst Howard Wilkinson. "Many Ohio Republicans expected him to be a gubernatorial candidate some day."

That gubernatorial bid never happened, but Fox amassed considerable power in Butler County politics over the years.

During his tenure serving the region he helped create the county's transportation improvement district. He championed the extension of State Route 129, the Butler County Regional Highway, and it was initially named in his honor as the Michael A. Fox Highway. The name was later changed to the Butler County Veterans Highway, after Fox's conviction in a 2012 criminal case.

He pleaded guiltyin 2012 to wire and mail fraud as well as filing a false tax return. The charges stemmed from his involvement in The Dynus Corporation, a company that took out a fraudulent loan claiming it had a contract with Butler County.

Fox served four years for his involvement, part in federal prison, and before ending his term on home confinement in 2015.

Fellow Butler County commissioner Chuck Furmon helped turn Fox in. He said in 2012 he called the FBI when Butler County got an errant bill saying it owed $6.5 million and was late on one of the payments.

Furmon said the county already had a fiber optic loop when it loaned a couple of strands to Dynus to market it. That's when prosecutors said the company took out an illegal loan in the county's name.

Corrected: June 25, 2022 at 9:13 AM EDT
A previous version stated Fox was paid "hundreds of thousands of dollars to make the deal happen." That line has been removed. None of the charges alleging bribery and receiving kickbacks were included in his final plea agreement. A family member states this allegation from 2011 was false.
Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.
Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.