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Householder's Alleged Accomplices Plead Not Guilty To Bribery Charges

The entrance to Energy Harbor's Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, Ohio.
Ron Schwane
Associated Press

Four major players in Ohio's capital have pleaded not guilty to federal racketeering charges. They're accused of being part of a $61 million bribery scheme that pushed for the passage and defense of last year's nuclear power plant bailout.

Former House Speaker and current state Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) was granted a delay in his federal court arraignment to find a new lawyer.

Former Ohio GOP chair Matt Borges, lobbyists Neil Clark and Juan Cespedes, and Householder adviser Jeff Longstreth all appeared by video and pleaded "not guilty."

They're accused of playing a role in an alleged scheme that funneled money from a utility company believed to be FirstEnergy and its subsidiary to benefit Householder politically and personally.

The end goal, according to the investigation, was to pass last year’s nuclear power plant bailout, HB6, which included other legislative priorities for the utility company.

Householder's arraignment will be held in two weeks.

Last Thursday, the Ohio House voted to remove Householderas Speaker and elect a new leader, although he will remain in the legislature. Householder is currently running unopposed for reelection this fall.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.