, Ohio's Black digital news leader

Breaking news from Cleveland, Ohio from a Black perspective.©2024


Last update12:22:47 pm

Font Size


Menu Style


Back Our Writers

FBI agent testifies in bribery trial of former GOP Ohio House speaker Larry Householder and says Householder pocketed some $500, 000 relative to the $60 million bribery scheme at the heart of the trial....Black elected officials are stunned

  • PDF and, the most read Black digital newspaper in Ohio and in the Midwest. Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email:
CINCINNATI, OhioFormer Ohio House speaker Larry Householder's public corruption trial is underway regarding what prosecutors say is a $60 million bribery scheme involving HB6, two nuclear power plants, and greedy right wing politicians and GOP businessmen.

The trial is in its third week, and it just keeps getting better.
An FBI agent testified on Thursday and said that the former state lawmaker (pictured) pocketed $500,000 from the bribery scheme, if not more. Special Agent Blane Wetzel also told the jury that Matt Borges, a former Republican lobbyist who is on trial with Householder, purportedly got $366,000 and Jeff Longstreth and Juan Cespede, two of Householder's co-defendants who have pleaded guilty and are slated to testify in the against Householder, allegedly stole some $3.2 million between them.

FirstEnergy Corp. of Akron and two of its Ohio nuclear power plants are also at the core of the celebrated case, which has gained national attention and has touched nearly every major Republican political player in Ohio, including Gov Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Frank LaRrose and state attorney general David Yost. They have not been charged in the ongoing legal saga.

Described in a damning complaint filed in federal district court by the U.S. district attorneys office, Householder and FirstEnergy Corp, and a host of others, are accused of scheming to steal taxpayer monies under the guise of a nuclear power plant bailout in one of the worst bribery schemes in Ohio history. At the center of the controversy is Householder's relationship with FirstEnergy Corp officials and a $1,2 billion financial rescue legislation dubbed House Bill 6, a state law adopted in 2019 that added an additional fee to every electricity bill in the state That state electricity surcharge generated some $150 million annually in payments for seven years to subsidize FirstEnergy’s two failing Ohio nuclear plants (Perry and Davis-Besse) and was mired in public corruption, prosecutors say. State lawmakers repealed part of HB6 last March with support from the governor.

Black elected officials in greater Cleveland, speaking on condition of anonymity, say the $60 million bribery figure is so astronomical that it is "absolutely stunning." Some Black elected officials, they claim, "are indicted on a ham sandwich for doing little to nothing at all and certainly nothing to the level that typical influential White politicians can get away with."

Householder is accused of using some $100,000 in bribery money, part of $500,000 in illegal monies the FBI confiscated from his personal accounts, for costs on his home in Florida. His co-conspirators got hundreds of thousands of dollars too, if not millions. And FirstEnergy officials were obliged to fund the bribery scheme, according to the complaint.

David DeVillers, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, has called the case one of the worst misuses of Ohio tax-payer money in American history, and public corruption and money laundering of mass proportions. More than a dozen others, practically all of them Republican operatives, have also been arrested and charged in connection with the now infamous bailout fiasco.

FirstEnergy helped finance Householder's election in 2018, the complaint says, coupled with bankrolling a successful effort led by the former House speaker to get the Republican-dominated general assembly to pass HB6, which was supported by only 10 House Democrats.

Householder and Borges were once two of the top influential Republicans in Ohio, until authorities came lurking around, including the FBI, and the IRS.

A Republican political consultant and ally to former Ohio GOP governor John Kasich, Borges was chair of the state GOP party from 2013 until former president Donald Trump assumed office in January of 2017. He is a Trump critic and lobbied against the former president's failed reelection bid in 2020.

Republicans and Democrats alike removed the former House speaker from office in June of 2021, and before his trial, the House voting 75-21 to expel the embattled state representative for his role in the multi-million dollar pay-to-play scheme The House had voted 90-0 in July of 2020 to remove Householder as speaker, a week after he and four other Republican affiliates, including Borges, were arrested in the case.

Householder is the first member to be expelled from the Ohio House of Representatives in 164 years, He called his expulsion while his criminal case is pending undemocratic and said the basis for it, disorderly conduct, is ludicrous. And he called it a disrespect to voters.

"They have taken away the vote of the 72nd house district and disenfranchised voters," Householder told reporters after his expulsion

But state House Democrats, led by then minority leader Emilia Sykes, now a congresswoman out of Akron, said then that it was long overdue and should have been done sooner, and some Republican state lawmakers angry with the former speaker's misgivings echoed the sentiment.

Republican Brian Steward co-sponsored the expulsion resolution and told reporters after it passed that if bribery, money laundering and racketeering are not disorderly conduct then what is. Robert Culp, a Republican and speaker of the House at the time also pushed expulsion of his former ally. He said then that "now we can put this behind us."

Culp was succeeded earlier this year as House speaker by Rep Jason Stephens, a rural southern Ohio Republican.

The unprecedented expulsion operates for a year and a half where Householder can run for office again, if he so chooses, and only if he is vindicated on the pending public corruption and racketeering charges, which sources say is unlikely.

By Kathy Wray Coleman, associate publisher, editor in chief. Coleman trained for 17 years as a reporter with the Call and Post Newspaper in Cleveland Ohio and is an investigative and political reporter with a background in legal and scientific reporting. She is also a former 15-year public school biology teacher. and, the most read Black digital newspaper in Ohio and in the Midwest. Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: We interviewed former president Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview. CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM, OHIO'S LEADER IN BLACK DIGITAL


Our Most Popular Articles Of The Last 6 Months At Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's Black Digital News Leader...Click Below

Latest News