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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.
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.

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