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Jurors convict former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder of racketeering

Larry Householder
Former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder.

A jury in Cincinnati on Thursday convicted former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and former Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges on a charge each of racketeering.

Jurors deliberated for less than 10 hours before returning the verdicts. Prosecutors said the two accepted $60 million in bribes to first put Householder back in power, then to pass the energy bill, known as House Bill 6, which included a bailout for two aging nuclear plants. The scheme, prosecutors said, also included an effort to defend House Bill 6 against a recall effort. Householder and Borges now face up to 20 years in prison.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury indicted East Cleveland police officers this week on charges including felonious assault and interference with civil rights. The officers indicted include current and former members of the department. The FBI’s Cleveland office has been leading the two-year investigation into the East Cleveland Police Department. Prosecutor Mike O’Malley referred to the corruption in the police department as a “cancer” and vowed to remove every tentacle of it.

Akron City Council confirmed eight people to its fledgling civilian police oversight board this week, but it wasn’t easy. Two long and at times contentious regular council meetings produced a stalemate with no one being approved to the board. Council had to hold a special meeting on Wednesday in order to get the job done. One seat on the board remains open. Voters approved the charter amendment that created the oversight board last November. The police shooting death of Jayland Walker last June galvanized momentum for creation of the board.

Cleveland voters approved their own police oversight measure in November 2021, establishing a powerful Community Police Commission. Cleveland City Council and Mayor Justin Bibb hammered out a budget for 2023 this week and that deal involved stripping out an additional $224,000 proposed by Bibb for the Community Police Commission.

The CEO of Norfolk Southern offered an apology Thursday for the train derailment in East Palestine that has upended lives in the Columbiana County village and raised fears of long-term health consequences. Alan Shaw told the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works that he is personally committed to the clean-up and long-term recovery efforts whether that be a year or 10 years from now.

The freight train derailed and caught fire Feb. 3, spilling toxic chemicals. A controlled burn off of vinyl chloride further spread the chemicals stoking fears for residents.

While the CEO testified about the railroad’s safety, another of its trains derailed in Alabama. That followed last weekend’s derailment in Springfield, Ohio.

We'll discuss these stories on this week's "Sound of Ideas Reporters Roundtable."

Anna Huntsman, Akron-Canton Reporter, Ideastream Public Media
Matt Richmond, Reporter, Ideastream Public Media
Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV

Leigh Barr is a coordinating producer for the "Sound of Ideas" and the "Sound of Ideas Reporters Roundtable."