The Alvin Bragg of Butler County: Roger Reynolds was only guilty of trusting people too much

It’s a local issue, but I’d say it’s common around the country. It’s not just in the case of Alvin Bragg, the New York District Attorney paid for by George Soros, who abuses their power for purely political purposes. The case where I live in Butler County, Ohio, of Roger Reynolds is just as malicious an example of abuse of the law as the one leveled against President Trump. I’ve talked about the Roger Reynolds case before, he’s the former auditor for Butler County who was just sentenced to 30 days in jail after being found guilty of an improper interest in a public contract, and his sentencing came around the same time as the big public spectacle of the Democrats throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Trump to attempt to destroy his next run for President. I know more about the Roger Reynolds case than what Fox 19 News, who pushed the case along by blowing on it with the help of Sheriff Jones, will say in public. From the beginning, the case against Roger Reynolds was political. It was about two alpha political types who were fighting for supremacy within the Butler County Republican Party, and it was over family disputes more than anything. All the parties involved could be said to have an improper interest in public contracts with all the cross-pollination of family members that goes on in these cases, so what Roger did with his interest in a golf academy partnership with Lakota schools shouldn’t raise any eyebrows. Most reasonable people wouldn’t have given the matter a second look.

But Sheriff Jones obviously by his actions wanted to keep Roger Reynolds from running for another term and support another person for that auditor position, so he and David Yost, the Attorney General in Ohio, all of who consider themselves Republicans, decided to use the law to their advantage and knock off a political rival by applying it against Roger Reynolds. At first, they started with a number of allegations that caused the initial court case, all of which Roger was found innocent on. But at the end, right before the case went to trial, Sheriff Jones added another charge from way back into the last decade involving Lakota schools, which is always the source of some level of corruption in our community, and they added it to the prosecution’s pursuit of anything against Roger Reynolds to get him out of office. It was precisely the same kind of behavior that we witnessed from Democrats against President Trump, especially coming out of the office of Alvin Bragg. Legal analysis of the Bragg case has been laughable and is obviously all about abusing the law to knock off a political rival and to put them in jail to keep them from running for political office. Well, it’s not just Alvin Bragg or the Biden DOJ who are abusing their authority; we see the exact same thing going on in Butler County, Ohio, among Republicans fighting for power and abusing the law to do what they couldn’t do at a ballot box, destroy a person so they don’t have to deal with them within party politics. When it comes to Sheriff Jones, this behavior doesn’t surprise me. But the Attorney General of Ohio, David Yost, was pulled into it, which was very disappointing. Because you’d like to think that, as Republicans, they wouldn’t get themselves involved in that kind of behavior. Yet, here they were, throwing charges at a political rival until something sort of stuck. And that last charge involving Lakota only stuck because they didn’t give the defense much time to prepare for it. They arrived in court to listen to the witness from Jones, who has been close to the Sheriff for many years and were surprised by her testimony. I know all the characters very well, including the witness.   She was involved closely with the Matt Miller superintendent controversy and had just indicated that she was leaving Lakota schools as the treasurer because that story was about to explode. The Sheriff put his arms around all of them and helped them out in ways that could be scrutinized in the same way that Roger Reynolds was in court. But needless to say, the defense team for Roger Reynolds was put on their heels a bit, and a guilty verdict by the jury was applied because of the ambiguity left in the wake. It was an odd situation that left room for doubt. 

If the Roger Reynolds defense team could do it over, I think they would love to, but a judge batted away the request. The political pressure was too great to mount up any charge possible to ruin Roger Reynolds politically, and the court system wanted to move on. There was no pursuit of justice, as Sheriff Jones indicated, with many haughty comments in the wake of the sentencing. The Sheriff was gloating about his ability to destroy a political rival in the same way that Democrats have been in using the law to attempt to destroy President Trump. There was no pursuit of justice; it was all about destroying other people for purely political purposes. I see the fault in all these cases as more of a sporting problem. People trust the refs too much in these kinds of things, and there are always going to be malicious characters who take advantage of a gullible public to rig these games because they know people won’t pursue recourse because they want to trust the legal system, often to their own detriment. 

However, all too often, just like in sports, we see occasions where the refs rig the game for lots of reasons. It’s not the skill of the players in those games who win and lose; it’s how the game is called by the referees who do. Refs are only human; they have problems too. And they can get caught rooting for one team or another, and those calls for justice may not be equal depending on the players. As a society, we play sports as kids and learn team sports concepts, which I would argue ruins many people’s minds with the wrong values. But more than that, we learn to trust what the referees say, even if we don’t agree. And we take that malfunction into our adulthoods and then apply that same level of respect to the legal arena. We don’t typically question what a judge says or a sheriff. And we like to think that our state Attorney General would be above picking sides out of political alliances. But the truth is that they are not above such corruption. They are human, and when they have too much power, they are going to be tempted to abuse it. And that is clearly what happened with Roger Reynolds; he was the victim of an abuse of power by a political rival that wanted to knock him off the stage. And he probably trusted everyone involved in the process too much, ethically, which is an important lesson. He’s still the great guy that people voted for, and if he could run again, people would vote for him again. People see through this kind of phony prosecution, just as they do with Trump. But corruption is a very real thing, and it happens all too often. Just because they call themselves Republicans in Butler County, we have the same kind of thing going on that we find so objectionable with Alvin Bragg in New York. It happens more than people want to admit, and while it’s on everyone’s minds, it would be an excellent time to consider whether or not we want to trust what the refs say without more scrutiny. Because they are prone to human frailty, and if we trust them too much, they could ruin our society beyond repair. 

Rich Hoffman

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