City of Toledo to sue convicted former council members over salaries

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz says the City of Toledo plans to sue three former council members who have been convicted in a pay-to-play scheme for the salaries they received during their suspensions from council before they took a plea deal earlier this month.

The city intends to file a lawsuit to recover the salaries paid out to former council members Yvonne Harper, Tyrone Riley, and Larry Sykes, Kapszukiewicz tells 13abc. They mayor said the collective salaries would range from $150,000 to $200,000 in compensation back to the city. City officials are also consulting the law department to consider how taxes, health benefits, and pensions could come into play.

“It was a sad day for Toledo when these former members of council pleaded guilty to public corruption offenses,” Kapszukiewicz said in a statement to 13abc. “It will be up to the court to make the appropriate sentence, but Toledo’s obligation is now clear. We will take steps to recover the salaries paid to these members for which they are no longer entitles. Recovering these public monies is the law, it is what other cities in similar situations have done, and I believe it will help close the chapter on this terrible matter.”

Harper, Riley, and Sykes took plea deals earlier this month and were convicted on bribery and extortion charges. Gary Johnson was also charges in the case but did not take a plea deal. The four were arrested in June 2020 and accused of accepting bribes in exchange for votes. Prosecutors said the four accepted payments ranging from $500 to $5,000 in exchange for their votes on zoning requests to internet cafes and special use permits, or SUPs, for local businesses.

City officials tell 13abc they will consider suing Johnson over salaries as well if he is convicted in the case.

Riley, Harper, and Sykes are scheduled to be sentenced in June of 2023. Johnson is scheduled to go to trial in early January.

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