Cincinnati mayor announces members of anti-corruption panel to clean up council

Cincinnati mayor announces members of anti-corruption panel to clean up council
Cincinnati City Hall (FOX19 NOW/file)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley announced members of a new anti-corruption panel Wednesday that he says will clean up City Council.

Retired Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Ann Marie Tracey will chair the board. She is a Xavier University professor emeritus and former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. She is also the former Chair of the Ohio Ethics Commission.

The other panel members are:

  • Verna Williams: Dean and Nippert Professor of Law, University of Cincinnati College of Law
  • Alicia Bond Lewis: Partner at Dinsmore & Shohl
  • Dan Schimberg: President of Uptown Rental Properties
  • Bobbi Dillon: Senior Manager, State Government Relations, Procter & Gamble Company
  • KZ Smith: Senior Pastor, Corinthian Baptist Church
  • Bernadette Watson: Retired City of Cincinnati’s public information Officer; Cincinnati Health Department and Mayor Charlie Luken’s former chief of staff
  • Tim Burke: President, Manley Burke LPA; former chairman, Hamilton County Democratic Party
  • Guy Guckenberger: Hamilton County Municipal Court judge; former Cincinnati Council Member and Hamilton County Commissioner

The panel was created after three council members were indicted on federal bribery charges in the past year, accused of exchanging votes for money or campaign contributions.

P.G. Sittenfeld and Jeff Pastor were arrested within days of each other in November. Both have pleaded not guilty, are suspended from council and remain free on their own recognizance.

Tamaya Dennard was arrested in February 2020, quit the following month and pleaded guilty to a wire fraud charge late last year.

PREVIOUS | P.G. Sittenfeld promised votes for money in ‘political slush fund’, feds say | P.G. Sittenfeld asks judge to throw out federal corruption charges | ‘There is more to this story:’ Pastor’s attorney raises questions on motives, evidence | P.G. Sittenfeld: Feds misstated facts, made ‘unfairly prejudicial statements’ | Feds: Jury should decide if P.G. Sittenfeld engaged in ‘corruption scheme,’ not judge | Tamaya Dennard sentenced in Cincinnati City Council corruption case | Cincinnati City Councilman Jeff Pastor arrested on federal bribery charges, feds say

Councilman David Mann directed the city to establish a commission to study the Cincinnati’s development process and the role council should play in development projects, the city said in a news release Wednesday.

Cincinnati Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman also has called for a forensic audit of all council votes on “any and all” development deals in the city over the past three years.

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