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Authorities Probing Death Of Ohio Lobbyist Charged In Nuclear Bailout Case

Neil Clark
Statehouse News Bureau
Neil Clark

Neil Clark, a longtime lobbyist at the Ohio Statehouse who has been charged in a federal bribery investigation, was found dead in Florida on Monday.

The Naples, Florida medical examiner says they are conducting an autopsy on Neil Clark, 67, following a sheriff's office report of a man found dead with a head wound and a gun on the premises. 

Reports say a cyclist found Clark's body in a wooded area in a neighborhood called the Golden Gate district near the border of Collier and Logan counties. Clark was known to have a residence in Naples.

Clark was the chief financial officer for the Ohio Senate Republicans in the 1980s before becoming a lobbyist, first in a partnership with Paul Tipps, former Ohio Democratic Party chair. That lasted until a high-profile breakup in 2005.

Then, on his own, Clark represented several major clients, including the payday lending industry, the former online school ECOT, and the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System. 

Clark was among several other defendants charged with racketeering last year in connection to HB6. The 2019 energy law bailed out nuclear power plants in Ohio and overhauled other pieces of energy policy.

Federal investigators say Clark played a role in the $61 million bribery scheme that helped FirstEnergy get a nuclear bailout approved by aiding Republican Larry Householder rise to become House Speaker. 

Clark pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The Naples-area medical examiner says the full autopsy report will be made available to law enforcement once completed.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.