The man most likely to become the stepdad of Tiger Woods’ children is a billionaire power broker who’s come under fire for his contributions to political fat cats!

The National ENQUIRER has learned that Christopher Cline – who’s worth $1.5 billion and lives next door to Tiger’s gorgeous ex-wife Elin Nordegren – is in the hot seat for trouble at a coal mine he owns in Illinois.

Cline, a 56-year-old divorcé, heads Foresight Energy and Cline Resource and Development Group, which mines over 20 million tons of coal annually from Illinois and West Virginia. But four workers have lost their lives in accidents at his Sugar Camp mine in Illinois since 2009, and local farmers claim the mine has ruined their land. That apparently hasn’t bothered Cline’s allies in the state’s political establishment – who have pocketed over $1.5 million in campaign contributions from his empire since 2006.

Recipients of the handouts include Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, the successor to former governor Rod Blagojevich, who’s serving 14 years for soliciting bribes for appointments, including to President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat. Three of Cline’s companies have poured over $160,000 into Quinn’s war chest, records show.

“There should be a federal investigation into whether the Cline companies got special treatment in permitting and safety because of campaign contributions,” environmental activist Will Reynolds, a former chair of the Illinois Sierra Club, told The ENQUIRER. “It looks like this money was used to buy favors.”

Cline – nicknamed the “New King Coal” – is the grandson of a miner, and grew up in an Appalachian hamlet, where he owns a 150-acre estate. His first wife, Sabrina, died of breast cancer in 1987. He remarried in 1993, and divorced seven years later.

He currently lives next door to the 21,000-square-foot mansion that Elin recently built in a ritzy North Palm Beach, Fla., neighborhood.

At 34, the Swedish-born bombshell is 22 years younger than her beau. Cline’s fortune made him the target of extortionist Vivek Shah, a 27-yearold wannabe actor of Indian descent who allegedly threatened to kill the tycoon’s family members if he didn’t cough up $13 million. Shah was busted on extortion charges and has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

As The ENQUIRER has reported, Cline’s relationship with Elin – mother of Tiger’s daughter, Sam, 7, and son, Charlie, 5 – heated up during a New Year’s Eve bash at his 34,000-squarefoot mansion in 2013 when the two locked lips at midnight. The father of four owns a yacht, Mine Games, that’s nine feet longer than Tiger’s yacht, Privacy, and tows its own submarine.

Elin’s six-year marriage to Tiger imploded when The ENQUIRER revealed his affair with a New York party girl, and his secret life as a serial cheater was exposed. Elin banked a sweet $110 million payoff in their 2010 divorce settlement.