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AG Yost asks Supreme Court to suspend Cleveland Councilman Johnson, who is facing corruption charges

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Posted at 2:51 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 14:51:31-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has filed a request with the Ohio Supreme Court to begin suspension proceedings against Cleveland City Councilman Kenneth Johnson who was arrested and indicted Tuesday on corruption charges.

The request filed by Yost for Johnson’s suspension referred to his indictment on 15 felony counts, including conspiracy to commit federal program theft. Yost sought to intiate the suspension proceedings under Ohio revised Code Section 2.16, which authorizes the suspension or resignation of public officials charged with a felony relating to their duties.

“Sadly, it’s become routine for us to initiate suspension proceedings for indicted city council members – Ohioans deserve representation free of public corruption and we must constrain those that abuse their power,” Yost said in a statement. “The suspension of a public official facing charges of public corruption is the proper remedy while the criminal case is resolved.”

Johnson was arrested Tuesday by agents from the Cleveland Division of the FBI. The indictment alleges that over eight years, Johnson, his longtime assistant Garnell Jamison and Robert Fitzpatrick, who worked for the Cleveland Division of Recreation, and others conspired to commit federal program theft by inducing the city to issue reimbursement checks from Cleveland’s general fund to Johnson for Ward 4 maintenance expenses that were never performed.

Johnson is the latest city council member accused of corruption of office. In the last year, Yost has called for the suspension or resignation of four Toledo city council members and two in Cincinnati.

RELATED: Kenneth Johnson, Ward 4 councilman, arrested and charged with federal program theft