Not a good day for Ohio politicians. The FBI added new charges to four Toledo city council members at a hearing this afternoon, and earlier in the day the FBI raided the home of Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder. In Toledo a scheduled preliminary hearing was scheduled for three of the council persons and one local attorney, Tyrone Riley had already waived his right to the hearing. But even before the hearing could take place a grand jury handed down indictments on Yvonne Harper, Larry Sykes, Tyrone Riley, Gary Johnson, and attorney Keith Mitchell. The indictment charges Riley with one count of conspiracy and five counts of extortion; Harper with one count of conspiracy, two counts of extortion, and one count of conspiracy to commit extortion; Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Johnson, and Mr. Sykes each face one count of conspiracy and two counts of extortion.
“Today’s indictment is the next step in the process of ensuring accountability and maintaining the public’s trust in its elected officials in the city of Toledo,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said in a statement. “Let this indictment serve as a reminder to all who seek to exploit their elected positions for personal enrichment — the public deserves better and we, the Department of Justice, will work day in and day out to ensure that the public’s interests are protected.”
Meanwhile this morning Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder had a visit from the FBI at his home. He was arrested with four others who also face charges. Agents made the arrests of Householder, Borges and Clark this morning at their residences. It is unclear where the arrests of Longstreth and Cespedes took place. Those arrested are
Matthew Borges, 48, the former chairman of the Ohio Republican Party and a lobbyist.
Jeffrey Longstreth, a longtime campaign and political strategist for Householder
Neil Clark, a lobbyist who owns Grant Street Consultants.
Juan Cespedes, a lobbyist.
U.S. Attorney Dave DeVillers called the case “likely the largest bribery, money-laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people of Ohio.”