( Cincinnati ) - "With a heavy heart, I think we need to deal with the, um, elephant in the room..."
That's how Mayor John Cranley started Wednesday's regular meeting of Cincinnati City Council following the arrest of Councilwoman Tamaya Dennard the day before on multiple federal charges. The mayor says they're "the most disturbing allegations of corruption that I have witnessed or even heard of," and he says they're a threat to the city's ability to operate.
Dennard is accused of soliciting money from someone in exchange for her vote. According to the US Attorney's Office, that someone worked with federal agents to give Dennard $15,000 last year. It's reportedly related to the development of a music venue at The Banks.
"If these allegations are true, or if there's no credible explanation of innocence... she needs to resign," the mayor said at the start of the council meeting. Dennard was not in attendance at that meeting.
Prior to that meeting, City Councilman Greg Landsman released a statement saying, in part, "the only reasonable outcome here is that we have 9 members of council that show up every day and are fully capable of doing their job. Every day, completely focused." He also referred to all elements of the situation as "awful and sad."
Similarly, the Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairwoman, Gwen McFarlin, released a statement saying Dennard deserves due process, but "if the allegations are true, Ms Dennard should step down from elected office to restore the public's faith in City Council..."
Republican member of council, Jeff Pastor, posted a statement on Twitter:
Even former members of Cincinnati City Council are weighing in. Kevin Flynn was on with 700WLW's Scott Sloan on Wednesday morning. You can hear that interview here.
Tamaya Dennard is now being represented by Martin Pinales and Eric Eckes. Over the phone, Pinales confirmed that Dennard will announce a decision about her future on City Council by the end of next week.
UPDATE: Tamaya Dennard made the above post to her Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon.