The indictment towards Johnson and two different associates was unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court docket.
CLEVELAND — Editor’s observe: Video on the high of this story concerning the investigation was initially revealed on Jan. 13, 2021.
Longtime Cleveland Metropolis Councilman Kenneth Johnson has been indicted by a federal grand jury on corruption expenses. The indictment towards Johnson and two different associates was unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court docket. The FBI tells 3News Johnson has additionally been arrested.
His assistant, Garnell Jamison, and former head of the Buckeye Shaker Improvement Corp., John Hopkins, have been additionally named within the 29-page indictment. The lads face expenses of:
- Conspiracy to commit federal program theft
- Federal program theft
- Aiding and helping within the preparation of false returns
- Tampering with a witness
- Falsification of data in federal investigation
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The costs come after this month’s responsible plea involving one other metropolis official.
Robert Fitzpatrick, a 35-year-employee of the Metropolis of Cleveland with shut ties to Councilman Ken Johnson, pleaded responsible by way of video arraignment on a federal cost that he conspired to commit theft from a federal program. Fitzpatrick was charged in what is called a invoice of data in U.S. District Court docket, a sign he deliberate to cooperate as a part of a plea deal.
RELATED: Mark Naymik Reviews: Cleveland metropolis worker tied to FBI investigation of Councilman Ken Johnson pleads responsible
Federal prosecutors say Fitzpatrick, for years, signed timesheets every month as documentation for work he carried out for a councilman and for which he was paid straight from a councilman’s pocket. However the prosecutors say Fitzpatrick by no means truly carried out the work nor bought paid. Prosecutors say the councilman used the signed timesheets as a receipt for “ward companies” to acquire $1,200 expense reimbursement from the town, the utmost month-to-month expense allowed below council guidelines.
The costs don’t establish Johnson by title, however earlier reporting by former Cleveland.com reporter Mark Naymik, who’s now with 3News, documented in 2018 and 2019 that Johnson had obtained greater than $160,000 all through 10 12 months with receipts signed by Fitzpatrick. Cleveland.com additionally reported that Johnson was as soon as Fitzpatrick’s guardian.
The federal expenses don’t element how a lot the councilman obtained by the scheme nor does it element the connection between Fitzpatrick and Johnson, though federal prosecutors say Fitzpatrick and Johnson have had a private relationship for 40 years.
Subpoenas obtained final month by 3News present federal investigators requested for paperwork associated to Johnson and his aide, Jamison. The subpoenas additionally search data on Ozell Dobbins, a former metropolis commissioner with shut ties to Johnson.
Dobbins has not been charged.
Jamison and Dobbins additionally labored for the now shuttered nonprofit referred to as the Buckeye Shaker Sq. Improvement Corp., which obtained federal cash from the town to revitalize neighborhoods in Johnson’s ward. Johnson used his discretion as a councilman to earmark federal cash to the nonprofit, however the metropolis ultimately minimize off the group for failing to element the way it spent the cash.