The Watergate of Butler County: When politicians try to get rid of other politicians by abusing the law

There have been many problems with the Roger Reynolds case in Butler County, Ohio since Fox 19 did a story during the 2021 election season featuring several prominent Republicans in a corruption scandal. One of which was a guy I have known for a long time to be an excellent auditor for the county in Roger Reynolds. Reviewing some of the details of the case, I considered it a simple land dispute among long-time neighbors. Reynolds has lived in Butler County much of his life, and sometimes, relationships like Thanksgiving dinners can get wobbly. And when you have family involved and emotions, and you are trying to be a public servant still, sometimes the gray areas can blend in the lines a bit. But as I said, when I think of Roger Reynolds, I think of high quality, competent public service, the best that government can offer. I have always been and continue to be very proud to have Roger Reynolds as the auditor for my county. I am proud of how the public officials generally conduct themselves in Butler County. I understand everyone doesn’t get along all the time, but for government, I think the public officials in Butler County are some of the best in the country, so I took exception to the hit piece by Fox 19 in Cincinnati. And how that real estate case ended up with charges from a grand jury of three felony indictments and two misdemeanors related to corruption, which could lead to 7 years in jail, was baffling. That is until I read a fantastic book by Geoff Shepard about Watergate called The Nixon Conspiracy

We all know Watergate, the breaking in of the DNC headquarters by G. Gordan Liddy and others on behalf of President Nixon to do opposition research. As it turned out, Nixon was innocent of the whole thing. In documents released in 2018 finally by Geoff Shepard, who worked on the case for 50 years trying to defend President Nixon from the embarrassment pushed upon him, we have learned that the prosecution didn’t like Nixon. They conspired with the law to get rid of him. Nixon never knew what the prosecution had given by way of a “road map” to the Grand Jury. And that forced him to react in all kinds of ways that looked guilty, leading the court of public opinion to put so much pressure on Nixon that he just resigned for the country’s own good. And after getting to know the situation involved in this Roger Reynolds case, that is precisely what has been going on against him. The law has been abused by many political rivals, the mushy Republicans who just don’t like Roger for several reasons, which I’ll get into. But they have taken the complaint of someone and blown it out of proportion to fulfill a politically motivated manipulation of the law and gross abuse of power that really is unforgivable. How do I know? Well, I know the players on all sides. I generally like them all. I view the situation more like a human resource problem than a legal one. But the abuse of power and manipulation of the legal system to be weaponized is another matter. This one goes all the way up to the Attorney General of Ohio, David Yost. The pressure campaign coming out of Yost’s office was essentially the same applied to Nixon. 

I wouldn’t have let myself think any of that was possible until I found out about the Grand Jury submission by the prosecutors in the Nixon case that was completely fabricated. We all would hope that journalism would have figured all that out a long time ago. It shouldn’t have taken 50 years to figure it all out. But it makes you wonder how often that kind of thing goes on, especially by those who knew they got away with destroying a president. They tried it again with President Trump. And apparently, that tactic is used all over the United States by politically motivated prosecutors and law enforcement that think it’s their right to override the voters’ opinion by destroying the lives of the politicians they elect, just because they don’t like them. In Roger’s case, he’s really good at his job, which certainly makes politicians who don’t want to work that hard to be upset. Roger is a total disclosure guy who opens his books to show all how he spends money. And many don’t want to open their books up in such a way.

Additionally, politics can be friendly. Everyone shakes hands at the picnics. They hire each other’s family members out of kindness. That is until Covid comes along and re-wrote the attendance rules. Roger’s office let go some of those family members because they stopped showing up for work, and of course, that upset other elected officeholders who decided that they’d get Roger back. Now to me, that’s an easy problem to solve. People can shake hands and smooth things out. But things get out of control when they take the law into their own hands to try to destroy people’s lives out of pure meanness. Clearly, David Yost and his advocates wanted to force Roger Reynolds out of office just as Nixon had been pushed. Roger has done the right thing and stayed on the job to fight this out. And this past week, the Supreme Court supported him.

At the heart of these accusations of corruption is an audiotape, which I have included here. On it, Roger supposedly asked for a 200K consulting fee to help navigate the developers through this real estate endeavor. I’ve listened to that recording many times, and I only hear a very astute professional talking business with businesspeople. Now for some career politicians who want to destroy the life of a guy who is a pain in their neck, I think they heard what they wanted to hear. When you read the paper trail of the case against Roger Reynolds, it becomes quite clear that there are a lot of “feelings” articulated in the accusations. This is what courts are for, and without all the political tampering that has been injected into this case, resolutions would smooth out on their own. But what has happened is that the case was taken over by political activism in how rival employees try to sabotage each other in the workplace. And it is not reflective of the Butler County Republican Party. Instead, the pressure of an outstanding elected representative in Roger Reynolds has challenged many who aren’t so good and don’t like it and have plotted his demise. And that’s not how things are supposed to work in politics. Aside from the pending case, which is Roger’s business with the other parties involved, he is also up for reelection, making this recording all the more critical. I’ll be voting for Roger Reynolds again. I think he has done a fantastic job. I like his rival in this election, Bruce Jones. I have a lot of good history with Bruce. But on this election, the guy on the recording included here is the kind of guy I want doing the business of auditing in Butler County. And if he makes other politicians mad with the pressure of his greatness, then that’s all the better and a job very well done.

Rich Hoffman

Click to buy The Gunfighter’s Guide to Business

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