NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The owners of a suburban New Orleans landfill have reemerged as two of the state's top political donors, even as a civil suit that claims some earlier political contributions were tantamount to bribes moves forward again.

The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reports that Jim Ward and Fred Heebe, owners of the River Birch landfill in Waggaman, are some of the largest financial backers of the effort to reelect Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Companies controlled by the men have donated to a political action committee that's given at least $200,000 to Gumbo PAC, an organization that could play a crucial role in Edwards' reelection bid.

Their political donations were at the center of a four-year federal criminal probe that eventually ended without any charges being filed.

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