A former City Council member in Ohio was sentenced Thursday to four months following a jury finding him guilty of Hobbs Act Extortion Under Color of Official Right.
According to court documents and testimony, an FBI source paid then-Councilman Garrick “Gary” Johnson $2,000 in return for his vote on a special use permit to open an internet café on Secor Road in Toledo, Ohio.
Although Johnson voted in favor of it, the special use permit ultimately failed to garner the required votes.
“Councilman Johnson chose to betray those he was elected to serve by accepting a bribe, blatantly violating his oath and the public’s trust, as a result, the entire Toledo community suffered,” said United States Attorney, Becky Lutzko. “This investigation and prosecution reflects the commitment of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to aggressively prosecute individuals engaged in public corruption”.
“Finding and investigating public corruption is one of the FBI’s highest priorities,” said FBI Cleveland Special Agent in Charge Gregory Nelsen. “Elected officials are entrusted to make virtuous decisions to the betterment of all. Sadly, Gary Johnson chose a path of criminal conduct and greed over the well-being of those he served. We will continue to work on behalf of the American Public to ensure the conduct by elected officials is right and just.”
The Cleveland Division of the FBI, Toledo Resident Agency, investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gene Crawford prosecuted the case.