Court docs show new details on Harper’s defense in Toledo City Council extortion case

Four former members of Toledo City Council have been accused of accepting bribes while in...
Four former members of Toledo City Council have been accused of accepting bribes while in office, according to court documents.(WTVG)
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 4:00 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - We’re learning more about the Toledo City Council bribery investigation. Former Councilwoman Yvonne Harper’s role in the alleged extortion scheme has come into focus.

Prosecutors say there have been statements made that money Harper received was for a charitable cause but prosecutors argue it is still extorted money regardless of where the funds went.

The FBI arrested Harper, Tyrone Riley, Larry Sykes, and Gary Johnson in 2020. They’re accused of taking cash bribes in exchange for city council votes and support.

Court records show the FBI began investigating the former council members in regard to the alleged bribes-for-votes scheme in 2018 that unfolded over the following two years. The four are accused of accepting payments ranging from $500 to $5,000 in exchange for their votes on zoning requests to internet cafes.

“It is alleged that local residents/business owners met with the defendants or their co-conspirators and provided them cash, checks, money orders, or meals in exchange for their official influence, support, and votes on various projects,” court documents read. “These projects included opening and operating online gambling businesses and increased road access to their business.”

All four have pleaded not guilty to all counts.

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