CINCINNATI — The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Ohio’s office will announce a public corruption case in Cincinnati, involving an arrest made Tuesday morning by the Cincinnati FBI, officials said.

Reports indicate that Cincinnati City Council Member Jeff Pastor, a Republican, was arrested on federal charges. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Ohio and the Cincinnati FBI office would not confirm the arrest or charges at this time, but announced that they will discuss a public corruption case in Cincinnati at a Tuesday afternoon press conference.

However, Pastor's fellow City Councilmember and Hamilton County GOP Chairman took to Twitter Tuesday morning.

“It is with great sadness that I read media reports of Councilman Pastor’s arrest this morning on what is being reported as a bribery scandal. The Hamilton County GOP has zero tolerance for this kind of behavior," Hamilton County GOP Chairman Alex Triantafilou tweeted.

He continued: "While Mr. Pastor should be afforded the presumption of innocence and due process, he is not entitled to continue working for the citizens of Cincinnati as he sorts through whatever charges may be coming. Jeff should resign his position on City Council and make his family and his defense a top priority.”

Cincinnati City Council Member Besty Sundermann echoed those sentiments, calling for his immediate resignation.

"I was deeply shocked and saddened to hear the news about Councilmember Jeff Pastor's arrest this morning. While he is owed the presumption of innocence and due process, I firmly believe he needs to step aside from his role on council and resign immediately. It is clear that, in his current situation, he will be unable to fulfill his duties as a member of council. His continued presence will only create potential roadblocks and liabilities for the city of Cincinnati as we work to find solutions to the problems facing our community,” Sundermann tweeted.

"It’s critical that we have a full, functioning council. The last 2 years have exposed an ongoing culture of corruption in city hall. It's one of the reasons I came to council — to restore integrity and trust. I’ll continue this fight every day, because Cincy deserves better,” she continued.

Pastor was elected to serve on the Cincinnati City Council in 2017 and is a husband and father of four, residing in Mt. Lookout. 

According to his website, Pastor teaches at King Academy Community School and graduated from Central State University, Payne Theological Seminary and Wright State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in communications, a master's degree in divinity and MBA. He served in the United States Navy Reserve as well as the Ohio Army National Guard. 

This public corruption case, with potential ties to the City Council, would be the second case for Cincinnati this year. 

In February, Tamaya Dennard, Cincinnati City Council President Pro Tem, was arrested and federally charged with honest services wire fraud, bribery and attempted extortion, according to U.S. Attorney David DeVillers. 

Between August and December 2019, DeVillers said, Dennard engaged in acts and attempted acts of bribery and extortion, attempting to exchange her votes for money.

“As the affidavit details, a concerned citizen contacted law enforcement following an interaction with Dennard, feeling an ethical and moral obligation to report any criminal wrongdoing,” DeVillers said in February. “The individual then worked at the direction of law enforcement throughout this investigation. It takes courage for citizens to come forward and assist law enforcement as this individual did.”

Dennard, who was elected to Cincinnati City Council in November 2017, allegedly requested between $10,000 and $15,000 from the individual to pay for her personal expenses. According to DeVillers, in coordination with FBI, the individual and the 40-year-old City Council president exchanged a total of $15,000 for upcoming votes on a matter scheduled to be heard by council. 

Dennard was federally charged with one count each of honest services wire fraud, bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and attempted extortion under color of right. 

In June, she pleaded guilty to accepting $15,000 in bribe money she sought and accepted as payment in exchange for her vote on a proposal before council.

“Dennard pleaded guilty to one count of honest services wire fraud,” DeVillers said in June. “She sought to deprive the citizens of Cincinnati of their rights to honest services by an elected official in order to enrich herself through corruption.”

“It is completely unacceptable for an elected official to solicit money in exchange for official actions,” said Cincinnati FBI Special Agent in Charge Chris Hoffman. “Today’s plea should serve as a reminder that the FBI considers public corruption to be a top priority and we will continue to vigorously investigate fraud and abuse in order to hold public officials accountable.”

Court documents filed with her plea indicated that in August 2019, Dennard contacted someone she knew who had business before the Cincinnati City Council and sought money, including by sending the individual a text message, saying, “If you are willing to meet with me, I’m sure that I will be able to help you.” 

According to DeVillers, Dennard received $10,000 on Sept. 9, 2019 and $5,000 in cash two weeks later, in exchange for her promise to provide a "favorable official action.” 

Dennard faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.