( Cincinnati ) - City Councilman Jeff Pastor is the second member of council to be arrested on bribery charges this year.
Following the arrest of Tamaya Dennard in February, Pastor was taken into custody by federal agents Tuesday morning. Federal prosecutors say he took $55,000 in bribes between August 2018 and February 2019 "in exchange for promised official action related to projects before the City of Cincinnati," in a statement.
Pastor is facing ten counts including bribery, attempted extortion, money laundering, and more. Investigators say he and his business partner, Tyran Marshall, flew to Miami on a private jet in September 2018 to meet with investors about a real estate project. Pastor allegedly discussed compensation to get the project approved with money going into his friend's nonprofit to "sanitize" the money.
Investigators say Pastor took $15,000 in cash about a week later and then took another $20,000 followed by two more $10,000 payments. He's accused of trying to secure other bribes on different projects in the first few months of 2019.
Former Bengal Chinedum Ndukwe is described as one of the FBI's cooperating witnesses.
Both Pastor and Marshall pleaded not guilty at their arraignment on Tuesday afternoon.
Hamilton County Republican Party Chairman Alex Triantifilou reacting on Twitter.
Pastor's fellow Republican on city council, Betsy Sunderman, is reacting as well.
Both Triantifilou and Sunderman say Pastor should be presumed innocent, but he should not continue in his role on council.