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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.

Wendell Young To Remain On Council, Ohio Supreme Court Decides


A special commission of three retired judges has decided against suspending Cincinnati City Council Member Wendell Young for deleting text messages related to 2018's "Gang Of Five" case. 

"The Special Commission finds that the felony charge against Mr. Young involves alleged conduct that occurred approximately three years ago and that has been public knowledge for most of that time, seemingly without adverse effect on the functioning of the office or the rights and interest of the public," the judges wrote in their decision. "...Accordingly, Mr. Young shall not be suspended from public office."

Young has pleaded not guilty to a charge of tampering with records. Special Prosecutor Patrick Hanley filed the charge in April, saying Young violated the law when he deleted text messages related to the investigation of messages 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.

Young has stated that he deleted the messages before a judge issued an order not to do so. 

In May, Hanley filed a motion with the court requesting a special commission be appointed to determine whether Young should remain on council given the charge against him. A similar attempt by some Cincinnati City Council members to oust Young also failed late last month.

The tampering with records charge carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison. 

Jennifer Merritt brings 20 years of "tra-digital" journalism experience to WVXU.