Summit County Councilwoman indicted, accused of taking bribes

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

AKRON, Ohio-- Summit County Councilwoman Tamela Lee has been indicted on six counts in a federal bribery case.

Lee, 57, faces charges of conspiracy to commit honest services mail and wire fraud, honest services mail fraud, Hobbs Act conspiracy, violating the Hobbs Act, obstruction of justice and making false statement to law enforcement.

“The charges in this case are extremely serious, because our public officials owe the community the highest level of integrity and honesty,” said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, in a news release on Thursday.

Lee was elected to Summit County Council in 2011 and represents District 5, which includes parts of Akron, Copley Township, Bath Township and Fairlawn.

Also indicted in the case are Omar Abdelqader, 49, of North Canton; his brother, Abdelrahman Abdelqader, 42, of Canton; and his nephew, Samir Abdelqader, 19, of Fairlawn.

Summit County Councilwoman suspects

All four suspects were arrested Thursday morning and are scheduled to appear before a judge at 3 p.m.

The Department of Justice said Omar Abdelqader is affiliated for several convenience stores in the Akron area, including the Bi-Rite on Diagnonal Road.

According to the indictment, Lee accepted money, campaign contributions and home improvements from Omar Abdelqader in exchange for government favors. On one occasion, Omar Abdelqader paid Lee to speak with a judge about his nephew's case, the indictment said.

“In other words, I am keeping her because we need her, man,” Omar Abdelqader said, according to the indictment. “She is better than an attorney to us."