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Cranley: Councilman Jeff Pastor's Alleged Criminal Actions 'Totally Outrageous'

Jay Hanselman

Cincinnati Councilman Jeff Pastor didn't show up to Thursday's City Council meeting where his alleged criminal actions were called "totally unacceptable, totally outrageous" by Mayor John Cranley.

Pastor, 36, was arrested at his home Tuesday morning and charged with honest services wire fraud, bribery, attempted extortion by a government official and money laundering. Officials said he took $55,000 in bribes over the course of year.

He's the second council member this year who's accused of similar pay-to-play schemes.

"It is deeply, deeply irritating that the actions of two people who engage in criminal acts could taint the hard work and professionalism of our administration," Cranley said. "It's not fair, it's not right. I hope they receive just punishments and that we can continue to build a better city for all."

He said he has worked with people who have professionalism, integrity and ethics for the past two decades where criminal actions have been unheard of — almost.

Former Council Member Tamaya Dennard was arrested in February and pled guilty to honest services wire fraud this summer.

"I feel bad for all of us, and I feel bad for the people of Cincinnati," Cranley said.

Cranley and other public officials have called for Pastor's immediate resignation.

"The Hamilton County Republican Party has zero tolerance for this kind of behavior," Alex Triantafilou, chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party, said in a statement. "While Mr. Pastor is afforded the presumption of innocence and due process, he is not entitled to continue working for the citizens of Cincinnati as he sorts through whatever charges may be coming. Jeff should resign his position on City Council and make his family and his legal defense a top priority."

Attorney Benjamin Dusing is representing Pastor and plans to release a statement about the charges  against him during a news conference Friday. 

Jolene Almendarez is the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants who came to San Antonio in the 1960s. She was raised in a military family and has always called the city home. She studied journalism at San Antonio College and earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Public Communications from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She's been a reporter in San Antonio and Castroville, Texas, and in Syracuse and Ithaca, New York.