Former City Council president indicted on fraud, bribery, and extortion charges

If convicted of all charges, Tamaya Dennard could face a maximum sentence of 50 years in federal prison.

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Image Credit: Leigh Taylor

Accused of attempting to bribe an attorney in exchange for votes, a former Cincinnati City Council president was recently charged with honest services wire fraud, bribery, and attempted extortion.

Between August and December 2019, Cincinnati City Council member Tamaya Dennard allegedly requested between $10,000 and $15,000 from an individual to pay for her personal expenses. That individual was later revealed to be longtime riverfront developer Tom Gableman, an attorney who works for the Board of Hamilton County Commissioners.

At the direction of and in coordination with the FBI, Gableman paid Dennard a total of $15,000, in increments of $10,000 and $5,000, for upcoming votes on a matter scheduled to be heard by the Cincinnati City Council.

In a November 4, 2019 text message to Gableman, which is included in the indictment, Dennard wrote: “I could really use your help. It’s kind of urgent to get it today. Happy to help you. But need yours too.”

On the morning of February 25, FBI agents arrested Dennard on her way to a Starbucks in downtown Cincinnati. On March 2, she resigned from her position on the Council.

A federal grand jury in Cincinnati returned an indictment on Wednesday charging Dennard with three counts of honest services wire fraud (up to 20 years in prison), two counts of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds (up to 10 years in prison) and two counts of attempted extortion under color of right (up to 20 years in prison). If convicted of all charges, Dennard could face a maximum sentence of 50 years in federal prison.

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