The city of Toledo, Ohio has been rocked with a major scandal that has led to the arrest of four city council members and one local attorney. The FBI had found that these four members of the city council were serving their selfish interests instead of taking care of the city like they were supposed to be doing.
The Department of Justice has stated that the four people and the attorney are “Tyrone Riley, Yvonne Harper, Garrick “Gary” Johnson, Larry Sykes and Keith Mitchell.” They have all be charged with bribery and extortion.
Instead of serving the people, they served themselves. U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman stated about these selfish greedy people that “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.”
For two years they were under investigation and they did not even notice that they were being watched. Greed blinds people and these five certainly found out that cheating the public comes at a high price.
The investigation started way back in 2018 when it was thought that the council members started taking money and merchandise in an attempt by the locals to have favorable votes on key issues that would affect certain local businesses.
Councilwoman Yvonne Harper is one of the five charged with cheating people. It is reported that she took nearly $16,000, which is the largest amount of any of the other members. Harper, who pleads stupidity, maintains that she knows nothing of what is going on.
She is also being charged with unlawful interstate communications. This includes the intent to extort.
When she left the courtroom, she was saying all the way to the car that “I don’t know anything. I don’t know how this came about.” Her ignorance is an insult to the people she has cheated over the past two years.
Keith Mitchell is the attorney that is charged with helping them. People that wanted to bribe the councilmembers had to go through him to do it. He would oversee the distribution of funds once the act of voting was over.
The Department of Justice reports that in once case a local business sought a Special use Permit in order to set up an Internet cafe. The money was paid to the attorney who then gave the money to the other four once the vote passed unanimously.
Herdman stated that “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.”
Once convicted each one of the five will face a 10-year prison sentence for one charge and another 20-years for the second charge. And they all face fines of $250,000 for each charge. Their lives are essentially over. They will spend the rest of their lives paying off $500,000 in fines.
The FBI stated that it “utilized confidential informants, recorded phone calls and text messages, along with analysis of financial, business and government records during its investigation.”
They know just where to sneak in to watch people and how they operate. The four cheats are being told to resign by the President of the City Council Matt Cherry and the Mayor, Wade Kapszukiewicz.
The gig was up when one community hero tipped off the FBI with information that stated the investigation. The source was a person that once owned a business in the city. The disgust of these five people has rocked Toledo and its people.
Special Agent Eric B. Smith of the FBI stated that “Elected officials are elected by the people, to serve the people, not to serve their own financial self-interest. The FBI will continue efforts to root out public corruption so citizens can have faith and trust in their public officials.”
People in positions of authority will try to commit crimes once in a while. But they will be caught. They would all do well to model themselves after President Trump who serves the United States with integrity and honesty.