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Politics Chat: Corruption Charges Dennard Faces Unheard Of In Cincinnati City Hall

Tamaya Dennard leaves the Hamilton County Courthouse with lawyer Erik Laursen on Tuesday, Feb. 25.
Ann Thompson
Tamaya Dennard leaves the Hamilton County Courthouse with lawyer Erik Laursen on Tuesday, Feb. 25.

Cincinnati Council Member Tamaya Dennard was arrested by the U.S. Attorney's office earlier this week on felony charges of wire fraud, bribery and attempted extortion for allegedly selling her council vote to a person with business before council.

WVXU Senior Political Analyst Howard Wilkinson told News Director Maryanne Zeleznik that these kind of official corruption charges are unheard of in the 95 years since Cincinnati adopted the council-manager form of government. The reason, he said, is that the founders of the charter government couldn't conceive of a council where members saw their service as a full-time job and had no other sources of income but their council salaries. That is no longer the case.

Dennard has said she will decide by the end of next week if she can remain on council while fighting the charges, all of which she denies. If she doesn't resign, it would be very difficult to force her out before her term ends in December 2021.

Copyright 2021 91.7 WVXU. To see more, visit 91.7 WVXU.

Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU News Team after 30 years of covering local and state politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio governor’s race since 1974 as well as 12 presidential nominating conventions. His streak continued by covering both the 2012 Republican and Democratic conventions for 91.7 WVXU. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots; the Lucasville Prison riot in 1993; the Air Canada plane crash at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983; and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. The Cincinnati Reds are his passion. "I've been listening to WVXU and public radio for many years, and I couldn't be more pleased at the opportunity to be part of it,” he says.