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Ndukwe: 'The city of Cincinnati has been extremely corrupt for a very long time'

city hall
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Lobbyist Jay Kincaid warned his longtime friend P.G. Sittenfeld to “steer clear” of two out-of-town developers who descended on Cincinnati City Hall in 2018, bragging about their money, offering cash campaign donations and offering to take elected officials on trips to Miami.

One developer, Rob Miller, had a perfectly groomed 5 o’clock shadow and wore more jewelry than Kincaid said he had ever seen on a man, much less a typical understated, casually dressed real-life developer.

“They were so over the top … could they be FBI agents?" Kincaid asked Sittenfeld in 2018. “I advised him not to take any (campaign donations) and to steer clear … They just didn’t look the part, something felt off.”

It turns out that Rob Miller, his partner Brian Bennett, and their boss, Vinny, were undercover FBI agents who built public corruption indictments against Sittenfeld and another former councilman, Jeff Pastor, in separate probes at City Hall in 2018 and 2019. All three FBI agents testified this week in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati at Sittenfeld’s trial where prosecutors revealed dozens of secret audio recordings and hidden videos of meetings.

The irony of Kincaid’s testimony was not lost on defense attorney Charlie H. Rittgers.

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Paula Christian is an investigative reporter at WCPO Channel 9 and has been since 2015. She's also worked at the Cincinnati Business Courier, Tampa Tribune, Winston-Salem Journal, Greensboro News & Record as a staff writer, and numerous other publications throughout Ohio as a freelance journalist. A graduate of Syracuse University in New York, she is most proud of her work that holds government officials accountable, such as watching where taxpayer dollars are spent and bringing the public inside important court proceedings.
WCPO-TV is a news partner of Cincinnati Public Radio.