Four members of the Toledo City Council, all Democrats, were arrested and charged in a bribery scheme by federal law enforcement authorities on Tuesday.
Federal prosecutors alleged that Tyrone Riley, Yvonne Harper, Larry Sykes, and Garrick Johnson, were involved in a scheme that extorted money from business owners in the Ohio city in exchange for favorable council votes. The FBI began its investigation into the council members in early 2018.
Each of the accused members could face up to 10 years in prison for the bribery charges, and up to 20 years on the extortion charges.
Also charged in the scheme was an attorney who is accused of helping orchestrate the crimes.
Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz issued a statement calling it a terrible day for the city.
"I am shocked and heartbroken by today's arrests. This is a terrible day for Toledo — and for everyone who believes in the good that can be accomplished through public service," Kapszukiewicz said.
I am shocked and heartbroken by today’s arrests. This is a terrible day for Toledo — and for everyone who believes… https://t.co/47qi7ApXb4— Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz (@Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz)1593534439.0
"I have no tolerance for public officials who abuse the trust of the citizens," he
added. "I encourage all Toledoans to say a prayer for our city and for the hope that justice will be done in this case."
Kapszukiewicz went on to remind Toledo citizens that the accused are innocent until proven guilty.
Mark Wagoner, the chair of the Lucas County Republican Party, called for the resignation of all four Democrats.
"Democrat domination of Toledo city politics has consequences, and today we see them. Lucas County Republicans have long pointed to the culture of corruption within the City of Toledo and have put forward quality candidates to end Democrat domination," he said.
Councilwoman Harper is reportedly the executive director of the Lucas County Democratic Party.
Here's a local news report about the arrests:
4 Toledo City Council members accused of bribes-for-votes scheme www.youtube.com