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Four members of the Toledo City Council have been accused of accepting bribes for votes while in office, according to court documents. At least three of those council members have been placed into federal custody. 13abc crews were on the scene as council members Larry Sykes and Yvonne Harper were placed into custody. Federal documents also implicate council members Gary Johnson and Tyrone Riley.
At least three of those council members have been placed into federal custody. 13abc crews were on the scene as council members Larry Sykes and Yvonne Harper were placed into custody. Federal documents also implicate council members Gary Johnson and Tyrone Riley.
According to a criminal complaint filed with the U.S. District Court, Councilman Sykes faces complaints of “Reciept of Bribe by Agent of Organization Receiving Federal Funds” and “Hobbs Act Extortion Under Color of Official Right.” In the affidavit filed along with the complaint, council members Harper, Riley, and Jonson are also named as subjects.
Photo: At least three of those council members have been placed into federal custody. 13abc crews were on the scene as council members Larry Sykes and Yvonne Harper were placed into custody. Federal documents also implicate council members Gary Johnson and Tyrone Riley.
Federal agents charge four Toledo city council members in bribery probe
By: Allison Dunn and Sarah Elms, The Blade, Jul 1, 2020:
The FBI has arrested multiple Toledo city council members accused of taking cash in exchange for votes during what is described in court records as a years-long, sweeping bribery scandal involving some of the city’s highest elected officials.
City council members Tyrone Riley, Yvonne Harper, Larry Sykes, and Gary Johnson are all charged in federal court with accepting bribe payments for official acts and extortion, according to criminal complaints filed Tuesday. Keith Mitchell, an attorney who is accused of funneling bribes to Ms. Harper, also faces bribery and extortion charges. Ms. Harper is charged as well with interstate communications with intent to extort.
Toledo city council member Yvonne Harper, shown leaving the U.S. District Courthouse Tuesday, is one of four on city council charged with accepting bribe payments for official acts and extortion.
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The city’s wound
FBI Special Agent Eric Smith in a Tuesday afternoon news conference said the councilmen were arrested without incident earlier in the day, while authorities are “actively seeking the whereabouts of Keith Mitchell.”
He said the councilmen committed a “fundamental breach” of the oath they took upon taking office, and violated the public’s trust for their own personal gain. The maximum prison sentence for bribery is 10 years, while the maximum for the extortion charge is 20.
Ms. Harper could face an additional two years in prison for the additional charge.
Details in the complaint suggest up to $34,260 changed hands between business owners, the councilmen, and Mr. Mitchell during the course of the investigation.
“The residents of Toledo should know, as should every other resident of the Northern District of Ohio, that where there are allegations of public corruption and kickbacks, we and our federal partners will be there every time,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said in a statement.
The four council members appeared before Magistrate Judge James Knepp II by video conference in U.S. District Court in Toledo on Tuesday afternoon.
U.S. Assistant Attorney Michael Freeman said the government did not seek detention for any of the defendants. Each councilman was released on a $50,000 unsecured bond, meaning if they fail to appear in court, they owe the government that much money. Additionally, they were barred from out-of-state travel and from having contact with co-defendants, victims, and witnesses.
There was no answer at the Grand Avenue home listed for Keith Mitchell, an attorney, in Toledo on Tuesday. The FBI has taken multiple city councilmen in custody in a bribery case.
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