Butler County auditor re-elected despite corruption charges

Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds
Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds(Provided by Roger Reynolds)
Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 8:25 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2022 at 4:55 PM EST
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HAMILTON, OHIO (WXIX) - Republican Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds easily won re-election Tuesday night with 64.58% of the vote despite his criminal trial next month on six public corruption charges.

Reynolds, 53, of Liberty Township, received 36,108 more votes than his Democratic challenger, Mike Dalesandro of Oxford Township, who received 35.42% of the vote, according to unofficial results Tuesday night.

Reynolds, the county’s chief financial officer since 2008, was endorsed earlier this year by the Butler County Republican Party. He ran unopposed in the May Republican primary and won.

Butler County long has been a Republican stronghold that widely supported President Donald Trump in both 2016 and 2020.

There have been no major Democrat officeholders in Butler County since West Chester Township Trustee Catherine Stoker was edged out of her seat after 20 years in the November 2013 election.

FOX19 NOW requested comment Wednesday morning from Reynolds and his attorney. We have not heard back yet but will update this story if we do.

Last year, Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser asked Ohio Attorney General Yost to assign a special prosecutor to oversee a public corruption investigation into Reynolds.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office and then the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) began investigating Reynolds after FOX19 reported he was seeking more than $1 million in public money to pay for road improvements on Hamilton Mason Road as he facilitated the sale of his parents’ property for development.

In February, a Butler County grand jury indicted Reynolds on five charges. He was re-indicted in July with a new, sixth charge related to Lakota Local Schools and money the state gives the auditor’s office for calculating and distributing real estate taxes from levies. The auditor’s office doesn’t use all the real estate fee money so Reynolds returns millions to the community each year.

In all now, Reynolds faces four felonies: bribery and three counts of unlawful interest in a public contract; and two misdemeanors: unlawful use of authority and conflict of interest, according to a court document called the “Bill of Particulars.”

Reynolds could face up to seven years and six months in prison if convicted on all charges, Butler County’s sheriff has said.

Reynolds had pleaded not guilty. His trial is scheduled to begin on Dec. 12 in Butler County Common Pleas Court before a visiting judge after all of the judges recused themselves.

He also is named as a defendant in an ongoing civil lawsuit with some similar corruption allegations. The litigation was filed amid the criminal investigation last fall, months before his indictment.

Reynolds and his attorney have repeatedly called the charges false and politically motivated. Reynold also has denied the allegations in the civil lawsuit.

A special commission appointed by the Ohio Supreme Court’s chief justice declined to suspend Reynolds from his elected office, concluding the allegations “are not sufficiently related to the performance and duties of his office” to warrant it.

Recently, price verification inspections conducted by his office exposed rampant overcharging of customers at Dollar General and Family Dollar stores in Butler County.

The attorney general swiftly sued both discount retainers as well as Family Dollar’s parent company, Dollar Tree, in Butler County Common Pleas Court.

The lawsuits cite violations of Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act and accuse Family Dollar and Dollar General of listing false prices on items and then charging usually higher ones at checkout counters.

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