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Lobbyist Neil Clark, Defendant In Ohio Nuclear Bailout Case, Found Dead At 67

ECOT spokesman Neil Clark
Karen Kasler
Ohio Public Radio
Neil Clark

Neil Clark, a longtime Ohio lobbyist indicted in a sweeping federal bribery investigation into the state's nuclear bailout law, has been found dead in Florida.

Former U.S. Attorney David DeVillers mentioned Clark’s death during a presentation Tuesday. The Naples, Fla. medical examiner says they are conducting an autopsy on the 67-year-old Clark, following a sheriff's office report of a man found dead with a head wound and a gun on the premises.

Reports say a cyclist found Clark's body in a wooded area in a neighborhood called the Golden Gate district near the border of Collier and Logan counties. Clark was known to have a residence in Naples.

The Naples-area medical examiner says the full autopsy report will be made available to law enforcement once completed.

Clark was the chief financial officer for the Ohio Senate Republicans in the 1980s before becoming a lobbyist, first in a partnership with Paul Tipps, former Ohio Democratic Party chair. That lasted until a high-profile breakup in 2005.

Then, on his own, Clark represented several major clients, including the payday lending industry, the former online school ECOT, and the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System.

Clark was one of several defendants charged with racketeering last year in connection with HB6, Ohio's nuclear bailout law. Federal prosecutors say the $61 million bribery scheme funneled money from FirstEnergy companies to then-Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, in exchange for securing a $1 billion bailout benefiting several plants owned by First Energy and its former subsidiaries.

Clark pleaded not guilty in August.

Householder has also pleaded not guilty in the case. Two other defendants and the dark money group Generation Now, which prosecutors said was created and operated at Householder's discretion, have entered guilty pleas.

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.