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Cleveland councilman arrested after indictment for allegedly taking money from federal program

Johnson for eight years allegedly sought to be reimbursed by a federal program for constituent duties he didn't perform.

FBI agents fatally shot in Sunrise, Fla., while serving warrant. Feb. 2, 2021.
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Updated: February 24, 2021 - 7:15pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

A Cleveland city councilman has been arrested in connection with a theft in a federal program, according to officials.

FBI agents arrested Councilman Kenneth Johnson, 74, on Tuesday, after he was indicted by a federal grand jury with more than a dozen charges related to the theft.

"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. "Such conduct may bring about a temporary financial benefit for those involved, but it harms the public's confidence in its elected officials," said the Cleveland City Council.

The indictment alleges that from January 2010 through October of 2018, Johnson and others conspired to commit the thefts to enrich themselves. They allegedly took about $127,000.

Over the roughly eight years, Johnson allegedly asked to be reimbursed each month for tasks he was supposed to do for his district including cutting grass, checking on properties and assisting with snow removal.

Johnson's pretrial hearing is scheduled for April 20. He was to be released on $20,000 bond with travel restricted, according to a report by local TV station Fox8.

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