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One-third of Toledo’s City Council arrested on bribery, extortion charges

By | Rachel Brooks

Staff | Telegraph Local 

See | The New African Living Standard

Above, Toledo skyline pictured at night in 2009. Created by “Northern Magnolia” CC By SA 3.0 Unported.

One-third of Toledo’s city council has been arrested on bribery and extortion charges.This comes after the FBI led a two-year investigation into the council. The FBI arrested a local attorney and four council members on Tuesday in Toledo, Ohio, for an elaborate bribery and extortion scheme.  The criminal complaint was obtained by Fox News, see it here. This story was reported by Fox News within the last 24 hours. The story also appeared in Newsweek. 

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Tyrone Riley, Yvonne Harper, Garrick Johnson, Larry Sykes and Keith Mitchell have been charged with bribery and extortion in a federal criminal complaint that concludes a two-year investigation. The city council was accused of receiving money from local businesses in exchange for their votes. This is citing the Department of Justice in a news release that was posted on June 30.  Newsweek reported that the city council would solicit bribes in exchange for special permits and waivers that would benefit locals and businesses.

Newsweek further reported that each of the accused members of the council were detained on Tuesday. Each was released on a $50,000 bond. 

The Toledo Blade reports that the mayor and the council president have called for the resignation of the guilty parties involved. 

Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz denounced his colleagues’ actions in a news conference statement on Wednesday.

“Government relies on trust. Government relies on the consent of the governed, and when there has been a breach of public trust, and when the consent of the governed is gone, then good government can’t happen. It’s just that simple,” said Kapszukiewicz, as quoted by The Toledo Blade. 

The Mayor also went on to say that he did not pass legal judgement regarding the four council members. He stated that he believed that they were “innocent until proven guilty” and had the right to a fair trial. 

“That is not inconsistent at all with my belief that they should resign from Toledo City Council. In government, even the suspicion or the perception of wrongdoing is enough to threaten the good work that government has the ability to accomplish,” said the mayor, as quoted by The Toledo Blade.

“If I was one of them in their position, I would have [resigned] already,” said Council President Matt Cherry as quoted by The Toledo Blade.

Other remaining members of the council have called the criminal complaint “damning.” The council stands in support of the mayor and the city president in their pursuit of removing the indicted members from the council. This cites the express opinion of Councilman Chris Delaney. 

“I read the complaint today, and it’s pretty damning. I think they need to go. … I’m going to support anything that leads to that,”said Delaney as quoted by The Toledo Blade. 

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“As alleged in the Complaint, four Toledo City Council members and a local attorney have been engaged in a pay-to-play scheme involving bribes for Council votes. Maintaining the public’s trust in its elected officials is one of the Department of Justice’s core responsibilities,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said in a statement made on Wednesday as quoted by Fox News.

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