Cleveland councilman arrested in alleged conspiracy to steal from federal program


Ken Johnson. (Photo provided by Cleveland City Council website)

CLEVELAND (WJW) — A Cleveland councilman is accused of conspiring to steal money from a federal program, and collecting more than $127,000 from inaccurate expense reports over several years.

FBI agents arrested Cleveland City Council member Ken Johnson, 74, at his home Tuesday, NewsNation affiliate WJW reported.

He’s named in a multi-count indictment issued by a federal grand jury, which lists more than a dozen charges including conspiracy to commit theft from a federal program, aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns, tampering with a witness, and falsification of records during a federal investigation.

The indictment claims he took more than $127,000 by submitting inaccurate expense reports for several years.

Johnson, who was been a council member since 1980, faces 15 counts.

He didn’t respond to WJW’s requests for comment.

Garnell Jamison, who worked for the City of Cleveland as Johnson’s executive assistant for over two decades, is also facing charges. The 61-year-old is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit federal program theft; two counts of federal program theft; five counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns; one count of tampering with a witness and one count of falsification of records in a federal investigation. 

John Hopkins, who was executive director of the Buckeye Shaker Square Development Corporation, and Robert Fitzpatrick, who worked for the city in the Division of Recreation, were also named in the indictment. Hopkins is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit federal program theft and three counts of federal program theft.  Fitzpatrick was charged in a Bill of Information for his role in the scheme, and pleaded guilty earlier this month.

“The allegations set forth in today’s indictment detail the exploitation of public office for personal gain,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan.

Kevin Kelley, president of the Cleveland City Council, released a statement to members, saying that they will “take necessary steps” to ensure that residents in the area that Johnson represents “receive the representation and service that they are entitled to.”

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