6 local politicians and their troubles with the law

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Pete Beck Trial

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Politicians sometimes make headlines for reasons other than their policy-making efforts.

The latest is Ohio Rep. Wes Retherford, R-Hamilton, who is charged with operating a vehicle while impaired, a misdemeanor, and improperly handling a firearm, a fourth-degree felony.

RELATED: State representative allegedly passed out in McDonald’s drive-thru

Here are 6 former Southwest Ohio politicians who have run afoul of the law:

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The former state representative and Butler County commissioner was indicted in 2009 for improperly benefiting from a $2.75 million contract with the fiber optics firm NORMAP to build the county’s fiber optics network.

The charges Fox admitted to came to light following an FBI investigation into whether Dynus Corp. took out millions of dollars in loans in the county’s name without its approval for the operation of a fiber-optics system. The county turned to Dynus after NORMAP failed.

RELATED: Fox talks about ‘humbling’ prison experience

Fox admitted guilt to criminal charges, but did not plead to any corruption charges — specifically accepting bribes and kickbacks — originally pursued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Fox, who was the Butler County Children Services Director at the time of his indictment, was sentenced to a four-year prison term in March 2012 for conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, and filing a false tax return.

He was released in the summer of 2015 to home confinement. He completed his sentence in December 2015.

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The former Republican state representative from Beavercreek was arrested in July 2011 on suspicion of drunken driving, a charge that was eventually dropped. However, just after that there were reports of a March 2010 incident where Martin passed out allegedly drunk on then-House Speaker William Batchelder’s car in a Columbus parking garage.

House leaders called on Martin to step down, which he refused.

Martin lost in March 2012 to Rick Perales, who went on to win the seat representing the 70th Ohio House District.

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Former state lawmaker Eric Kearney, of Cincinnati, was a one-time Democratic candidate for Ohio’s lieutenant governor during Ed FitzGerald’s 2014 campaign.

RELATED: Dogged by debt, Democratic candidate drops from race

He dropped from the ticket just a few weeks after being named when it was revealed he and his wife owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and federal taxes.

The former state senator’s unpaid debts proved to be too much to overcome. Most of the back taxes were due to his small business, Sesh Communication which operates the Cincinnati Herald newspaper.

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The Cincinnati Republican in July 2011 resigned under pressure after failing to disclose an April arrest in Indiana on an alleged drunken driving charge.

According to the report, Mecklenborg was traveling to Indiana with a 26-year-old woman who was not his wife. Mecklenborg was a married father of three at the time of the arrest.

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Beck was the chairman of the Ohio House’s Ways and Means committee when he was indicted in 2013 on 16 counts related to allegations he was involved in defrauding investors out of money related to the failed tech start-up Christopher Technologies. State prosecutors say he was one of the key officials in the scandal.

RELATED: Appeals court overturns 10 of 13 Beck’s convictions

Beck was eventually charged with 37 counts, but was convicted on 13. Upon appeal, the First District Court of Appeals overturned last year 10 of the 13 charges saying the trial court’s ruling “contains both an obvious error and an issue that was not fully considered.”

The Ohio Attorney General’s office asked the appeals court to reconsider its decision, but that request was denied. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has not filed any request for the Ohio Supreme Court to consider the case.

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The Dayton Democrat pleaded guilty in January 2013 to eight criminal counts, including election falsification, money laundering and theft. The charges was were announced by the FBI in 2012 with 45 felony counts, which included public corruption.

Luckie, a former state representative, was sentenced to three years in prison and three years probation but was eligible for early release dependant on his cooperation with the FBI. He was not released early from prison.

RELATED: Former Dayton-area lawmaker to stay in prison

Luckie was accused of diverting as much as $130,000 from his campaign account between 2006 and 2012, including $9,825 in checks written to himself, 169 cash withdrawals totaling $19,000, and 800 debit card transactions totaling almost $40,000.

According to the reports, most of the spending did not appear to be campaign related, including ATM withdrawals at casinos, a payment on a home equity line of credit, and purchases at retailers like Morris Home Furnishings, Nordstrom, Lowe’s, Babies R Us and others.

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SPECIAL REPORT: Politicians allowed freebies, favors under Ohio ethics laws

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