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Ex-Ohio House speaker gets max sentence in corruption case, blasted as 'bully with a lust for power'

Republican former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and his wife, Taundra, arrive Thursday, June 29, at federal court in Cincinnati for his sentencing hearing.
Karen Kasler
Statehouse News Bureau
Republican former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and his wife Taundra arrive at the federal courthouse in Cincinnati for his sentencing hearing.

Republican former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder was sentenced on Thursday to the maximum of 20 years in prison in the House Bill 6 nuclear power plant bailout case.

Judge Timothy Black blasted Householder as “a bully with a lust for power” who disregarded the Ohioans he represented when he masterminded the $61 million scheme to become speaker with bribes and dark money from FirstEnergy and pass the nuclear plant bailout for the utility.

U.S. marshals came into the courtroom just before Black announced the sentence. Householder emptied his pockets, was handcuffed, looked back at his wife and was taken from the room.

In his statement to the court, Householder defended himself as a faithful family man who's spent decades in public service to his community. He asked Black that the price his family would pay for a long sentence be considered.

But in a blistering statement, Black said Householder betrayed the trust Ohioans put in him, and that he was especially bothered by the $1.3 billion in subsidies that FirstEnergy stood to gain from House Bill 6.

"You know better than most people how that could have benefited Ohio," Black said.

"You liked being the puppetmaster," the judge said. And noting that not only was the prosecution's evidence against Householder overwhelming but that he lied on the stand when testifying in his defense, Black said, "You conned the people of Ohio and tried to con the jury, too."

"I have no sense that you grasp the harm that you caused," Black added.

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Ken Parker was pleased with the sentence.

"Today we witnessed justice for Ohioans," Parker said outside the courthouse after the sentencing. "We were looking for accountability. And today we believe that Mr. Householder received just that."

And Parker noted that Householder has never accepted responsibility or apologized for his crime.

“We didn't see any remorse from him and it was apparent the judge didn't either," Parker said.

Householder's team said they will appeal, and had asked for him to be able to report to prison later or that the sentence be stayed during the appeal. Black denied those requests.

Former Ohio Republican Party chair Matt Borges, who was also convicted of racketeering in the same trial, will be sentenced Friday morning.

Contact Karen at 614-578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.