COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A longtime Ohio lobbyist who pleaded not guilty to an extensive investigation into federal bribery was found dead.
In response to a request for information about Neil Clark’s death, the sheriff’s office in Collier County, Florida, where Clark had lived, filed a report describing the body of a man who was killed by a nearby cyclist on Monday morning of a pond was found. The County Medical Examiner confirmed to the AP that it was Clark’s body and that a medical examination and autopsy are pending.
When officials reached out to the man’s wife, she said the couple had financial problems and, according to the report, she had not heard from her husband in a few hours.
The 67-year-old Clark reported in August for an alleged role in a $ 60 million program in which federal prosecutors said FirstEnergy companies paid money through a network of dark money companies to then Ohio House spokesman Larry Householder , forwarded, found not guilty of a $ 1 billion rescue package.
Former US attorney David DeVillers mentioned Clark’s death during a presentation Tuesday to the board of the Office of Ohio Consumer’s Counsel discussing the investigation.
A message seeking details was left with Clark’s attorney, Bill Ireland.
Clark, a Republican, had been described by federal prosecutors as a householder enforcer, heavily armed supporter, and a fundraising expert.
Prior to becoming a lobbyist, Clark was the Ohio Senate Republican finance director and inside state budgeting expertise to help his many lobbying clients.
Clark initially contributed his Senate work to a bipartisan lobby partnership with the late Paul Tips, a former chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. The two ended up having a nasty argument, their company broke up, and Clark started his own company, Grant Street Consultants.
“In matters where a defendant has died, a ‘death proposition’ is usually filed upon receipt of a death certificate, which results in the deceased being released from the case but does not affect the rest of the case.” Acting US attorney Vipal J. Patel said in a statement. “All of this will be addressed in due course. For the moment, we extend our condolences to Mr. Clark’s family and friends.”
Corrected this story to show the body was found on Monday and to clear a reference to Clark dying on Tuesday.
Farnoush Amiri is a corps member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a not-for-profit national service program in which journalists report undercover issues to local newsrooms.