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Former Columbus Councilwoman Pleads Guilty To Ethics Violation

City of Columbus

A former Columbus city councilwoman has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor ethics violation related to a trip she took with a now-disgraced lobbyist. 

Franklin County Municipal Court records show Michelle Mills pleaded guilty Friday morning and was given a $250 fine, which has been paid.

Mills got in hot water in 2015 for not reporting a trip to an Ohio State football game paid for by then Columbus lobbyist John Raphael. He’s currently in prison after pleading guilty to extorting campaign contributions from the city’s former red light camera vendor.

Mills joined three other council members on the trip, and she was the only one who didn’t immediately reimburse Raphael for the trip, or disclose it on ethics forms as a gift.

Mills said she intended to repay Raphael, but never received an invoice. Mills this week repaid the city treasurer's office for the cost of the trip for her and two guests.

Mills resigned from council a few months after the discretion came to light.

Steve Brown grew up in nearby Richwood, Ohio and now lives there with his wife and sons. He started his journalism career as a weekend board operator at WOSU while majoring in journalism at Ohio State, where he also wrote for the student newspaper The Lantern and co-founded the organization Students for Public Broadcasting.