Cincinnati council member arrested on federal corruption charges

Ohio
11-19 PG Sittenfeld

(WLWT Photo)

CINCINNATI (WLWT) – Cincinnati city council member P.G. Sittenfeld has been arrested on federal corruption charges, the third member of council to be arrested this year.

Sittenfeld, 36, has been charged with two counts of honest services wire fraud, two counts of bribery and two counts of attempted extortion by a government official.

Federal officials said that Sittenfeld was arrested at his home Thursday morning, accused of accepting bribes in exchange for favorable votes on development deals. It is alleged he accepted eight checks totaling $40,000 in exchange for specific action in his role as a city official.

The indictment states that Sittenfeld solicited money in exchange for his support to develop a complex at 435 Elm Street in downtown Cincinnati. That complex, being developed by former Cincinnati Bengals player Chinedum Ndukwe, was going to be transformed into a hotel and office complex, federal officials said.

Ndukwe worked with the FBI in connection with the case, authorities said.

Sittenfeld is the third member of council to be arrested on federal charges.

He Is currently serving his third term as a member of Cincinnati City Council. He is the chair of the Education, Innovation & Growth Committee and also serves on the Budget & Finance Committee and the Equity, Inclusion, Youth & the Arts Committee.

Sittenfeld announced in July of this year that he would be running for mayor of Cincinnati in 2021.

His arrest follows that of Jeff Pastor, 36, last week, who was indicted on federal bribery, extortion, money laundering and fraud charges. According to federal investigators, Pastor was “aggressive and cavalier” about soliciting bribes, starting shortly after he took office nearly three years ago.

In wake of Pastor’s indictment, Sittenfeld released a brief statement, saying “This is a sad day for our city. If the allegations are true, a new member of Council needs to be appointed to move forward with the many pressing issues facing our community. My prayers go out to Councilmember Pastor’s family.”

Democrat Tamaya Dennard, 40, was the first member of the current council convicted in a bribes-for-personal-gain case. She was elected to City Council in November 2017 and resigned on March 2, 2020.

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