The U.S. Department of Justice has charged four sitting Toledo council members and a local attorney in a scheme to take bribes in exchange for votes.
Bribery charges were filed against council members Tyrone Riley, Yvonne Harper, Gary Johnson, and Larry Sikes, along with attorney Keith Mitchell.
They're accused of taking bribes in amounts from $500 to $5,000, in exchange for favorable votes on rezoning to allow several new internet cafes – and a subsequent moratorium on internet cafes that would compete with them.
Yvonne Harper is also accused of extortion for demanding a business pay a constituent money to settle a dispute.
In a statement, Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said, “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.
These members of council are entitled to their day in court, and they should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise. I encourage all Toledoans to say a prayer for our city and for the hope that justice will be done in this case.”