Former Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld is set to be sentenced Tuesday in federal court on charges of corruption.
Getting to sentencing has been a stunning fall from grace for the popular and charismatic politician who was on track to be Cincinnati’s next mayor.
Sittenfeld, 39, is hoping a judge will sentence him to community service, home incarceration or some combination of the two for his convictions on bribery and attempted extortion. Federal prosecutors are seeking between 33 and 41 months in prison.
Here’s how he went from City Hall to the federal courtroom:
2011: At 27, Sittenfeld is the youngest person ever to be elected to Cincinnati City Council. He, Chris Seelbach and Yvette Simpson are hailed as a new generation of leaders.
2013: Council terms are extended to four years. Sittenfeld is the number one vote-getter in the field of nine.
2017: Sittenfeld is re-elected, again the number one vote-getter. He would be term-limited after this term and is rumored to be eyeing a 2021 mayoral run. It’s a politically tumultuous time at City Hall. Unbeknownst to anyone at City Hall, the FBI has opened an investigation into how development deals were being handled, a fact that wouldn’t come out until much later at trial.
2018: Sittenfeld and four other City Council members attempt to wrest power away from Mayor John Cranley, with contentious fights that often erupt during council meetings. Cranley is warring with City Manager Harry Black and wants council to fire Black. That’s when five members of council, a majority of members that includes Sittenfeld, text among each other. The group issues a press release, which raises questions about whether they are illegally talking among themselves via text about city business.
April 7, 2019: The city settles a civil lawsuit for $101,000, in which Sittenfeld and the other four council members admit those text conversations violated Ohio’s Open Meetings Act. All five appear in court and are chastised by Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman.
July 2020: Sittenfeld announces mayoral run.
Nov. 19, 2020: Federal agents arrest Sittenfeld on corruption charges. Sittenfeld says he is innocent. The charges allege Sittenfeld orchestrated a scheme to funnel money from developers into a political action committee (PAC) that he controlled. According to the indictment, the developers were actually undercover FBI agents who handed Sittenfeld checks totaling $40,000 on three different occasions in 2018 and 2019. The indictment states Sittenfeld solicited the money in exchange for his support of a plan to develop the former Convention Place Mall at 435 Elm St., which Cincinnati developer Chinedum Ndukwe, a former Bengals player, had wanted to turn into a hotel and office complex with sports betting. Sittenfeld did not pocket the cash himself, the indictment states, but instead funneled it into the PAC.
Nov. 20, 2020: Sittenfeld releases a statement on Twitter saying he is innocent and says he intends to keep working and plans to run for mayor.
Dec. 7, 2020: Sittenfeld agrees to a suspension from his council job. Councilwoman Liz Keating is appointed to replace him.
Feb. 18, 2021: Sittenfeld drops out of the mayoral race.
June 21, 2022: Sittenfeld’s trial begins in federal court in Cincinnati. It’s filled with bombshell moments, including testimony that a fundraiser for Mayor John Cranley took a bribe. Also, Ndukwe testifies that Sittenfeld would only approve a development at 435 Elm St. if he contributed to Sittenfeld’s campaign. Federal prosecutors play numerous videos and recordings, many of them involving undercover FBI agents posing as developers.
Aug. 15, 2022: Sittenfeld’s attorneys file post-trial motions, arguing alleged juror misconduct because a juror was posting on Facebook as the trial was happening. They ask U.S. District Judge Douglas Cole, who presided over the trial, to declare a mistrial and order a forensic examination of the juror’s electronic devices.
April 17, 2023: Cole denies Sittenfeld’s post-trial motions.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: A timeline of PG Sittenfeld’s career and corruption
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