The death of a longtime Ohio lobbyist who was charged in a nearly $61 million bribery scheme is being investigated by authorities after a passerby found him in a car in a wooded area this Monday.
According to Dayton.com, Neil S. Clark, 67, was found with a handgun and a bullet wound in his head.
Clark was arrested on July 21 along with former Ohio House speaker Larry Householder, former Ohio GOP chairman Matt Borges, lobbyist Juan Cespedes and political strategist Jeff Longstreth. The group was charged by prosecutors for allegedly taking nearly $61 million in dark money from Ohio utility companies to position Householder as speaker, and in turn pass and defend a $1.3 billion bailout law for the companies. Clark pleaded not guilty.
"All forms of public corruption are unacceptable," said FBI Cincinnati Special Agent in Charge Chris Hoffman in a statement last year. "When the corruption is alleged to reach some of the highest levels of our state government, the citizens of Ohio should be shocked and appalled."
In response to Clark's death, acting U.S. Attorney Vipal J. Patel said in a written statement that in matters in which a defendant has passed away, "the process is that a 'Suggestion of Death' is typically filed upon receipt of a death certificate, resulting in dismissal of the decedent from the case but not impacting the rest of the case. All that will be addressed in due course."
"For now, we extend our condolences to Mr. Clark's family and friends," the statement added.
According to prosecutors, Clark was Householder's "fixer." He also referred to himself as Householder's "hit man" who does the "dirty s--t."
"When [Householder's] busy, I get complete say. When we're working on stuff, if he says, 'I'm busy,' everyone knows," Clark was quoted as saying in 2019.