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Former City Council Member Jeff Pastor pleads guilty to single corruption charge

jeff pastor
Eric Clajus

Former Cincinnati Councilman Jeff Pastor has pleaded guilty to a corruption charge. Pastor was in U.S. District Court Wednesday afternoon on charges authorities describe as a bribery scheme involving payoffs for help with city development projects.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Pastor solicited and received $55,000 in bribes between June 2018 and January 2019 in exchange for "promised official action related to projects before the City of Cincinnati."

He was arrested by the FBI in November 2020, and accused of wire fraud, bribery, money laundering, attempted extortion and conspiracy. The government says Pastor took tens of thousands of dollars in bribes and other gifts from undercover agents posing as developers.

From the archives: Why the 'culture of corruption' at Cincinnati City Hall?

That year, Pastor wasn't the only council member arrested on such charges. Over the space of 10 months in 2020, three City Council members — Democrat Tamaya Dennard, Republican Pastor, and Democrat and then-mayoral frontrunner P.G. Sittenfeld — had been arrested by federal agents and charged with felonies that centered around taking bribes from developers with business before City Council.

In his plea deal, Pastor admitted to accepting $15,000 in exchange for votes as a member of Council.

Sentencing hasn't been scheduled. He faces up to two years in prison.

Corrected: June 7, 2023 at 4:23 PM EDT
This article has been updated to reflect the correct dates of when Pastor allegedly accepted bribes.
Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.