CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – Cleveland Ward 4 Councilman Ken Johnson, 74, was arrested Tuesday morning at his Buckeye-Shaker home by federal agents.
The arrest comes as part of a multi-count indictment surrounding misuse of funds and conspiracy involving at least three other individuals.
The indictment issued by a federal grand jury in Cleveland 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.
Johnson faces 15 counts.
The indictment claims he took more than $127,000 by submitting inaccurate expense reports for several years.
Johnson reportedly appeared via video arraignment in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, pleading not guilty. He was to be released on $20,000 bond with travel restricted. He reportedly had to surrender his passport. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for April 20.
Garnell Jamison, 61, of Cleveland, 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. Jamison worked for the City of Cleveland as Johnson’s Executive Assistant, a position he held for over 20 years.
Defendant John Hopkins, 57, of Cleveland Heights, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit federal program theft and three counts of federal program theft. Hopkins was Executive Director of The Buckeye Shaker Square Development Corporation.
Robert Fitzpatrick worked for the City of Cleveland in the Division of Recreation. Fitzpatrick was charged in a Bill of Information for his role in the scheme and pleaded guilty on February 8, 2021.
“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.
Johnson has been a councilman since 1980.
He has not responded to FOX 8 requests for comments.
Cleveland council president Kevin Kelley said, “Council will take necessary steps to ensure that the citizens of Ward 4 receive the representation and service that they are entitled to,” in a statement to council members.
Stay with FOX 8 for more as this story develops.