Matt Evans

Matt Evans. File photo.

The employer of a member of the Ohio University Board of Trustees was implicated in the federal complaint filed in July against former Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) and his accomplices as one of their financial backers.

Matt Evans, an OU trustee, is president of Boich Companies, whose CEO and chairman, Wayne M. Boich, was directly implicated in the documents, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

The newspaper reportedly discovered last Wednesday that Boich himself provided $25,000 to open bank accounts for Generation Now, the dark money nonprofit at the center of the arrests and indictments of Householder and his four accomplices.

Boich Companies is referred to in the documents as “Company C,” according to The Dispatch, which reportedly confirmed that information with a source who’s knowledgeable about the ongoing federal investigation into Householder and his accomplices’ alleged scheme to take $60 million in First Energy money to pass a nuclear bailout law, or House Bill 6.

Federal investigators uncovered a 2016 document from Jeff Longstreth — Householder’s longtime political strategist – that proposed Boich be their “financial backer” because Boich Companies’ interests aligned with those of First Energy, the company that allegedly went to great lengths to bribe Householder to bail out two of its nuclear plants as part of the deal.

Boich also reportedly gave $100,000 to a for-profit company that spent nearly $1.5 million to support Householder’s 2018 campaign and the campaigns’ of other candidates who the representative believed would help elect him as speaker and help pass House Bill 6, according to The Dispatch.

Boich and his wife, Cynthia Boich, are frequent donators to Republican causes, according to a previous report in The Athens NEWS. The Boich family donated at least $36,307 to DeWine’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign.

Among contributions to other state legislators, the Boich family donated at least $48,123 in 2018 to state Rep. Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville), who represents the House district that includes most of Athens County.

Evans, who serves on Boich Companies leadership team with Boich, was not explicitly implicated in any documents related to the investigation. The OU trustee also didn’t donate any money to Householder’s public facing PAC, Friends of Householder. Though he did donate more than $25,000 to Gov. Mike DeWine’s 2018 gubernatorial ticket, according to state campaign finance records.

Gov. Mike DeWine recently called for the repeal and replacement of House Bill 6 after previously declining to do so, saying that he supports the policy outlined in the law, but disapproves of the allegedly corrupt methods through which it was passed.

In 2016, DeWine, then Ohio’s attorney general, was accused by liberal group Americans United for Change of collaborating with coal companies against Obama-era EPA regulations, according to Cleveland.com. The article alleges that Evans, among other energy industry figures, circulated and forwarded emails to DeWine regarding the perceived inefficiency of EPA regulations.

Evans was appointed to a nine-year term on The Board of Trustees by DeWine in 2019. He graduated from OU in 1993 with a bachelor of arts in political science and previously worked in the Ohio Senate and for former Ohio Gov. George Voinovich.

In 1995, Evans opened Duke Energy’s central Ohio office and navigated the company’s way during deregulation of the electric utility industry. In 2001, he joined Boich Companies and managed its public affairs at the state and national levels.

In 2016, Evans became the president of Boich Companies — “and focused on leading the company into a more diversified portfolio in the energy sector. He serves as an advocate for utility-scale solar development with a focus in southern Ohio,” according to a news release.

Evans could not be reached for comment and The Board of Trustees said in a statement that it’s been made aware of Boich Companies’ implication in the federal complaint, but declined to comment since it has no “direct information” about the investigation.

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