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WVXU has been covering the stories of politics and corruption at Cincinnati's City Hall since early 2020. We have now launched an initiative to more closely examine Cincinnati politics and the individuals who have shaped it, along with the current allegations of corruption. We'll also explore proposals for change, and seek feedback from local leaders and community members on what can be done to restore trust in City Hall.Trust in Local Government, WVXU's Public Integrity Project will analyze our council-manager form of government and the charter amendments designed to reinforce ethical standards at City Hall; take a historical look at corruption in Cincinnati government; talk with the candidates for Cincinnati mayor and continue with an ongoing series of features, interviews and candidate profiles.

Council Member Young Pleads Not Guilty To Tampering With Records

Sarah Ramsey

Cincinnati Council Member Wendell Young is pleading not guilty to a tampering with records charge. Young filed the plea in the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Thursday.

Special Prosecutor Patrick Hanley filed the charge two weeks ago, more than a year afterbeing appointed to the case.

The investigation stems from text messages exchanged between Young and four other council members in 2018. The group discussed and made decisions about city business, in violation of Ohio's Sunshine Law.

Hanley says Young further violated the law by deleting some of those text messages.

Young told several local media outlets he deleted the messages before an order not to do so, but after turning them over to the city solicitor's office and seeing them published in the media.

The tampering with records charge carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison. A scheduling hearing is set for May 12.

Three of the five involved in the case remain on council: Chris Seelbach, Greg Landsman and Young. Tamaya Dennard resigned from City Council in March 2019 after being arrested on federal charges of extortion, bribery and wire fraud for allegedly offering to exchange her votes on council for money. P.G. Sittenfeldwas suspended in December as he fights federal charges of bribery.

The texting case is not related to separate cases involving bribery and other allegations against Dennard, Sittenfeld and suspended Council Member Jeff Pastor.

Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.