The male who led the unsuccessful ProEnergy Situation 7 ballot initiative previous November — which Columbus leaders termed a blatant hard work to seize taxpayer funds — was discovered guilty Monday of submitting a fake marketing campaign finance document in link with the petition generate for a equivalent 2019 initiative.
John A. Clark Jr., led the petition drive to get an initiative set on the Columbus ballot that, if it had handed, would have diverted a lot more than $50 million of metropolis funds towards imprecise green-vitality initiatives proposed by a group that would have been in sole handle of the funds.
A jury in Franklin County Widespread Pleas Courtroom on Monday observed Clark, 50, of the In close proximity to East Side – who also has absent by the final name Clarke – guilty on one particular rely of election falsification, a fifth-diploma felony, in relationship with the initiative petition drive.
The jury uncovered Clark not guilty on two other charges: a second count of election falsification and one rely of tampering with governing administration records,a third-diploma felony. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on a 2nd depend of tampering with governing administration data.
The cost Clark was discovered guilty of relates to untrue data furnished on marketing campaign finance stories filed with the town of Columbus’ campaign finance office on Aug. 18, 2019. The prosecutor’s business beforehand explained the untrue statements are related to the source and total of contributions made to the ballot initiative.
Clark and his lawyers declined to remark Monday.
Clark remains free of charge on a recognizance bond pending his sentencing July 7. A fifth-degree felony conviction is punishable by up to 6 to 12 months in jail and a wonderful of up to $2,500.
The 2019 ballot initiative would have redirected $57 million in metropolis revenue to proposed inexperienced-strength initiatives by ProEnergy Ohio LLC, a confined partnership group led by Clark.
After various iterations of the ballot evaluate obtaining submitted to the city in the last number of decades, back again-and-fourth with the town council and the courts, a similar initiative that would have redirected $87 million to ProEnergy Ohio produced it on to the ballot in 2021. It was soundly defeated.
“These untrue statements (on the marketing campaign finance stories) strike at the main of our elections and was an try to mislead the Metropolis of Columbus and its voters,” then-Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien reported in a assertion at the time of the indictment.
The prosecutor’s business claimed investigators observed that 5 men and women detailed on the 2019 marketing campaign finance report – one who was stated as contributing $13,000 and the other four shown as contributing $10,000 each – gave almost nothing at all.
“Possibly the dollars failed to exist in the to start with position or the revenue came as a result of straw contributions,” O’Brien claimed at the time of the indictment. He claimed investigators interviewed four of the five donors. “None of these people had that form of revenue. The complete thing was a fiction.”
Editor’s be aware: This variation has been up-to-date to proper the likely sentencing penalty.
Jordan Laird is a legal justice reporter at the Columbus Dispatch. You can get to her at [email protected]. You can adhere to her on Twitter at @LairdWrites.
This posting initially appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Male with Columbus power ballot evaluate responsible of phony marketing campaign report