CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cincinnati City Councilman Greg Landsman said Thursday he loaned Councilwoman Tamaya Dennard $1,000 last year after she asked for it.
Landsman said he checked first with the city solicitor to see if he could legally give Dennard a loan last year and was told it was OK, just be sure to list it on his annual campaign finance report.
He said he plans to report the loans and suggested to Dennard she report them, too. The reports are filed with the city in May.
“I try to help anyone that comes my way, it’s how I was raised. If you can help, help. In this case, I obviously asked the solicitor first," Landsman said in a statement to FOX19 NOW.
There were two loans totaling $1,000: one for $500 in July and another $500 one in October, he said.
According to court records, Dennard requested the funds from Landsman about a month before requesting another $10,000 from an FBI informant.
“She’s a friend and colleague,” Landsman said in an interview Thursday, adding that the loan has not been repaid. “She didn’t ask anything in return. And I certainly didn’t, other than, I was expecting to be repaid.”
Dennard is accused in federal court records of engaging in acts and attempting acts of bribery and extortion and trying to exchange her votes for money between August and December 2019.
A criminal complaint alleges she requested $10,000 to $15,000 for personal expenses from an employee at a law firm representing a stakeholder in The Banks development on the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati. The unnamed person reached out to the FBI and then, under FBI direction, exchanged a total of $15,000 with her for upcoming votes.
The criminal complaint also reveals federal officials believe a large amount of cash went into her bank account last year has unknown origins.
“Analysis of her personal banking account records from June 3, 2019, to Nov. 21, 2019, indicate numerous cash deposits in an amount totaling $20,295.00. The source of the cash deposits is unknown," the FBI agent wrote.
Dennard’s attorneys are not commenting at this time, according to an email we received Thursday from in response to a request regarding the loan and a lawsuit to remove her from office.
The attorneys representing the Democratic councilwoman, Martin Pinales and Eric Eckes, released a statement on her behalf Wednesday that said she “looks forward to addressing the serious allegations made against her. She understands there are immediate questions about her continued service on City Council. She recognizes that her constituents deserve to know whether she will continue to serve in the seat to which she was elected while she works to clear her name. To that end, Ms. Dennard will make a decision about her future on City Council by the end of next week.”
On Thursday morning, an anti-tax activist filed a lawsuit with Hamilton County Probate Court to kick Dennard off council.
Four other voters, including State Rep. Tom Brinkman, R-Mt. Lookout, joined the complaint for removal.