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Ohio arrests bribery case: Who is Larry Householder, Matt Borges, others possibly involved

Federal officials arrested Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and four others on Tuesday morning in connection with a $60 million bribery case.

Who’s who in the case:

Larry Householder

Ohio House speaker Larry Householder

The Republican House Speaker, Householder is one of the biggest names in Ohio politics and has been a major player for years in the state’s Republican Party. He’s known as an aggressive fundraiser who doesn’t shy away from hardball tactics on the campaign trail or in the statehouse.

He first served as Ohio’s House speaker from 2001 to 2004. The FBI launched an investigation in 2004 into allegations that Householder and his aides took kickbacks from vendors and traded legislation for campaign contributions. The investigation ended in 2006 with no charges filed.

A term-limited Householder left Columbus in 2004 during the investigation.

After returning to the House a few years ago, Householder staged a comeback, with help from Democrats, when he took advantage of GOP infighting and returned to the speaker’s post.

“When everyone else is in complete disarray is usually when I’m at my best,” Householder told The Enquirer in 2019.

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Jeff Longstreth

The longtime Householder adviser helped form Generation Now, a dark money group that fought to defeat a challenge to Ohio’s nuclear energy bailout.

Matthew Borges

Former Ohio Republican Party chairman Matt Borges founded a super PAC to elect Democrat Joe Biden.

A former Ohio Republican Party chairman, Borges lobbied for that nuclear energy bailout, representing the company that owns the two power plants – called FirstEnergy Solutions at the time and now named Energy Harbor.

He made headlines just last month for announcing he would be voting for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and creating a PAC to help defeat President Trump. 

Borges was ensnared in a bribery scandal in 2004, when he was working with then-Ohio Treasurer Joe Deters, now Hamilton County’s prosecutor. He admitted funneling contributions to Deters’ campaign from donors seeking to do business with the treasurer’s office and pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge. 

More:1 name from secretive marijuana applications: Ex-GOP chair Borges

More:After debate, Ohio GOP chairman unsure whether he’ll vote for Trump

Disclosure: Matthew Borges is a member of the Columbus-based firm 17 Consulting, which advises The Enquirer on legislative activity affecting the media industry.

Juan Cespedes

He’s a lobbyist for FirstEnergy Solutions via the Oxley Group. 

Neil Clark in 2015  (Dispatch photo by Jonathan Quilter)

Neil Clark

He’s a longtime Householder adviser. Clark founded Grant Street Consultants in Columbus which its website calls a “bipartisan government relations firm.” According to his bio on the company website, Clark was called “one of the best-connected lobbyists in Columbus” by USA Today. He is a former chief operating officer of the Ohio Senate Republican Caucus.

David DeVillers

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio,  DeVillers was nominated by President Donald Trump on Sept. 9, 2019, confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Oct. 28. and the United States Senate approved his confirmation on Oct. 28. He has been an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio since July 2002.

DeVillers was an Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor for a decade and served as Director of the Organized Crime/Gang Unit for the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office. One of his most notable prosecutions was the Short North Posse federal murder case in which 20 members were convicted on murder and 18 on drug and firearm crimes; it was the largest federal murder case in Ohio’s history. 

David M. DeVillers was sworn in as U.S. Attorney on Friday, Nov. 1.

DeVillers has worked overseas as a Prosecutor Advisor to the Iraqi High Tribunal during the trial of Saddam Hussein and other members of the former Iraqi Regime in 2006 and 2007. He lived in Tbilisi, Georgia, from 2010 to 2012 as a Resident Legal Advisor to combat transnational crime, corruption and international money laundering.  

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