Three Former Toledo City Council Members Sentenced for Accepting Bribery Payments
TOLEDO – U.S. Attorney Rebecca C. Lutzko announced that three former Toledo City Council members were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey J. Helmick for their roles in accepting bribery payments during their time in office in return for support and votes on legislative matters.
Tyrone Riley, age 67, of Toledo, was sentenced to 24 months imprisonment yesterday after pleading guilty to one count of Hobbs Act extortion under color of official right.
Yvonne Harper, age 73, of Toledo, was sentenced to 12 months and a day imprisonment yesterday after pleading guilty to one count of Hobbs Act conspiracy under color of official right.
Larry Sykes, age 74, of Toledo, was sentenced to 4 months imprisonment today after pleading guilty to one count of Hobbs Act extortion under color of official right.
“When public officials choose to betray those they were elected to serve by blatantly violating their oaths and the public trust, the entire community suffers immeasurably,” said United States Attorney Rebecca C. Lutzko. “These sentencings reflect the commitment of the U.S. Attorney's Office to aggressively prosecute individuals engaged in public corruption.”
“Finding and investigating public corruption is one of the FBIs highest priorities,” said FBI Cleveland Special Agent in Charge Gregory Nelsen. “Elected officials are entrusted to make virtuous decisions to the betterment of all. Sadly, these three individuals chose a path of criminal conduct and greed over the wellbeing of those they serve. We will continue to work on behalf of the American Public to ensure the conduct by elected officials is right and just.”
According to court documents, on multiple occasions from May 2018 through February 2020, Riley, Harper, and Sykes accepted bribery payments in return for their official support and votes on legislative matters as members of the Toledo City Council.
Court documents also state that Riley, Harper, and Sykes each accepted cash payments in return for their support and votes on zoning changes and “special use permits” (SUPs) for local businesses. Riley accepted more than $10,000 in payments and meals in return for his support on five separate city council matters. Harper accepted more than $5,000 in return for her support on two matters, and Sykes accepted $1,500 for his support on three matters.
This case was investigated by the Cleveland Division of the FBI, Toledo Resident Agency. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gene Crawford and Michael J. Freeman.
Thomas P. Weldon