Judge sentences former Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds

Visiting Judge Daniel T. Hogan sentenced Roger Reynolds to 30 days in jail and five years of probation with supervision.
Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 5:54 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 31, 2023 at 8:39 PM EDT
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HAMILTON, Ohio (WXIX) - Former Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds is avoiding jail time, at least for now, after being convicted of a public corruption-related felony.

He was forced to step down in late December, just before his fifth term began when a jury convicted him of one count of unlawful interest in a public contract.

Visiting Judge Daniel T. Hogan sentenced him Friday to 30 days in jail and five years of probation with supervision.

The judge issued a stay on his jail time pending the outcome of his expected appeal.

Reynolds, 53, of Liberty Township also was ordered to pay the maximum fine of $5,000, the cost of his supervision and all court costs and taxpayer costs.

In addition, he must be fully employed or complete 100 hours of community service.

Before the judge handed down his sentencing, Reynolds spoke at length about his case in court for the first time,

“I’ve made mistakes and at no point have I ever tried to be dismissive or put that blame on anyone else,” Reynolds said.

“Here’s what you need to understand and maybe you already do, [...] it doesn’t have anything to do with your intent. Not a thing,” Judge Hogan told him.


Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in a tweet he was disappointed in Reynolds’ sentence.

The jury acquitted Reynolds of three other felony charges including bribery and one misdemeanor charge, and prosecutors dropped another charge just before his trial started.

The charge he was convicted of is related to a suggestion he made to the Lakota Local Schools treasurer or a private golf academy to be built at Four Bridges County Club using hundreds of thousands of dollars in money the school district receives annually from the auditor’s office.

The school district’s attorneys advised the treasurer against it, school emails show.

State law prohibits a public official from authorizing or influencing a public contract that either the official, a family member, or a business associate has an interest in.

At the time Reynolds made the suggestion for the golf academy on private property, in addition to being the county auditor, he also was a member of the Four Bridges Golf Course and his daughter played for the Lakota East High School golf team, according to Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones.

A special prosecutor with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office who oversaw the public corruption investigation against Reynolds wrote in court records he should go to jail for six months because he violated the public trust as an elected official and has shown no remorse.

“...the facts disclose a situation where an entrenched, powerful government official felt emboldened enough to try to take advantage of his position to promote a personal interest,” Special Prosecutor Brad Tammaro wrote in a sentencing memo.

Moreover, Tammaro noted, when Reynolds’ actions were questioned, he attempted to justify it with “a lie.”

“Mr. Reynolds’ conviction in this case obviously runs counter to the lifetime of good works and strong values that led him to be a respected, countywide elected official,” his attorney said. “While Mr. Reynolds never set out to break the law or to further his own interests, he respects the jury’s verdict and regrets ever getting involved in the golf training facility discussions.”

Dozens of people wrote letters to the judge, requesting leniency for Reynolds, as he considered an appropriate sentence.

Most of the letters are from Reynolds’ family and friends, as well as current and past employees at the auditor’s office who wrote that they consider him a “mentor,” a “devoted public servant” and “a great friend as well as a boss.”

“The culture he developed in the office is a direct reflection of his leadership,” wrote Michael Stein, the tax accounting manager at the auditor’s office. “I ask that you take into account all the good things that Roger accomplished during his service to Butler County, and ask for leniency as you reflect on your decision.”

The judge noted all of the letters and kind words he received about the former auditor as he considered his punishment.

Judge Hogan said received more letters of support for Reynolds than in any other case he’s had.

But, he added, he also received three letters that agreed with the state and portrayed Reynolds as an entirely different person.

Reynolds’ initial sentencing date last month was postponed until Friday after Reynolds’ attorney filed a request for a new trial.

Reynolds’ attorney accused prosecutors of failing to turn over “exculpatory evidence” that would have been favorable to Reynolds’ defense and changed the guilty verdict, court records show.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office disputed that in their own court filings, contending the defense’s entire stance was “based on egregious errors of fact and law.”

Judge Hogan ultimately agreed and rejected Reynolds’ request.

Former Butler County Treasurer Nancy Nix is now the auditor.

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