Happy New Year!
At least for most of you. Some poor saps are staring down an oncoming locomotive called twenty-twenty-three. With the accent on the loco. And it’s the end of a saga that is two plus years in the making.
Guilty as charged
To recap. Four Toledo City Council members were arrested in mid-twenty twenty and charged with various federal crimes including bribery, extortion and conspiracy. They were later suspended from office, with placeholders taking their seats until their next election cycles.
Since then, Gary Johnson declined to run for re-election in twenty twenty-one, and Larry Sykes foolishly ran and got trounced. Yvonne Harper and Tyrone Riley would have been up for re-election in Fall of twenty three. We say “would have have been” because the strong arm of the law has finally come down on them, effectively ending their political careers. In mid-December, Sykes, Riley and Harper all took a plea deal and pled guilty to various criminal counts. They were quickly convicted, and will be sentenced sometime in mid-twenty three. Each faces up to twenty years of federal time. At their ages, that would likely amount to a life sentence. And they have a good six months to ponder their collective fates. Happy New Year indeed.
The jury’s still out
Johnson, meanwhile, continues to claim his innocence and has refused to cop a plea. The feds have wire evidence of him allegedly trading a vote on a zoning issue for two large in cash. Which he has said was not a bribe, nor extortion, but a simple campaign contribution. In cash. Not at a campaign fundraiser, but one on one. Immediately after discussion of a vote. That went in favor of the bloke what helped grease his palm. With two grand. Uh huh. His trial is set for January. If it doesn’t go well, hoo boy, is he in trouble. Because a plea deal would likely reduce or drop some charges. And probably include a lesser recommended sentence. In a jury trial, tho? With the feds rebuffed and angry? All bets are off. Happy New Year, Gary!
Welcome to the jungle
Their convictions will open up Harper’s and Riley’s seats on Council. Probably soon, since they are now convicted of federal crimes in direct relation to their office. And definitely come November. Who in their right minds would jump into these hot seats? Read the above. Loco. As in, no And to everyone who hasn’t been indicted or convicted of federal election crimes, let us take the opportunity to wish you and yours a very happy, prosperous and healthy New Year.
Catch ya on the flip side!