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Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013 @ 7:20 PM
Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013 @ 7:20 PM
Columbus — Former Dayton state Rep. Clayton Luckie tried to claim $1,490 in mileage reimbursement from the state even though he was under criminal investigation and records show he was not using his assigned parking pass in Columbus.
“We are suspicious that it is possible that he may not have been in Columbus. We are working with JLEC (the Joint Legislative Ethics Commission) on this,” said Mike Lenzo, chief legal counsel to the House Republican Caucus.
Ohio House officials withheld payment on the requests made since July 1. The parking pass assigned to Luckie for the Riffe Center garage has not been used since at least July 1, though Luckie could have traveled to Columbus and parked elsewhere, Lenzo said. Attendance records and meeting minutes show Luckie stopped attending legislative sessions in June and attended one Controlling Board meeting on July 10.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said he just learned of the mileage reimbursement requests and is seeking more information before deciding whether to bring more charges against Luckie.
On Tuesday, Luckie pleaded guilty to eight felonies and one misdemeanor and O’Brien dropped 42 felony counts against him. He was sentenced to three years in prison and three years of post release control, plus he was ordered to repay $11,893 in state pay he received between his indictment Oct. 10 and the end of his legislative term Dec. 31.
O’Brien and the FBI built a case against Luckie that showed he misspent as much as $130,000 from his campaign fund and then submitted bogus documents to cover his tracks. During the investigation, Luckie agreed not to vote on legislative matters, beginning in June, O’Brien said. The agreement was expanded to include the Controlling Board after O’Brien learned that Luckie attended the July 10 meeting.
Lawmakers may be reimbursed for one round-trip per week between home and Columbus and must certify that they made the trip for state business. Luckie certified that he made trips between Dayton and Columbus for nine of 13 weeks in the third quarter of 2012 and for 14 of 14 weeks in the fourth quarter.
Luckie made his fourth quarter request on Jan. 7, just two weeks before he struck a plea deal to avoid a lengthy trial and the risk of a long prison term.
Ohio House officials tripped over the mileage issue in a round about way. Luckie had not paid his office supply tab since May 2008 and had amassed $504 in charges, Lenzo said. House officials were researching whether they could garnish his wages or his mileage payments to cover the supply tab, he said. During the course of that research, they determined that he may not have been traveling to Columbus, he said.
Luckie’s request for mileage money came as a surprise to his attorney.