MANSFIELD: What Was Johnson Thinking?


FORMER WARD 7 COUNCILMAN TJ DOW WHO LOST TO BASHEER JONES IN 2018, By Mansfield Frazier, Posted August 9th 2021

The short answer is … nothing, he wasn’t thinking at all. Ken Johnson, in the end, was blinded by his own arrogance, which was on full display during his trial on a host of federal charges in Akron. The longest serving member of Cleveland City Council (that is, until his recent conviction) had been cooking the books for so long he probably thought the wrong he was doing was actually right.

The feds, however, saw his behavior otherwise and indicted Johnson on “two counts of conspiracy to commit theft from a governmental program; five counts of tax violations; six counts of theft from a federal program; and separate counts of tampering with a witness and falsifying records.”

After his conviction, Johnson’s lawyer, Myron Watson said, “These were honest mistakes. There was no intent to defraud the government.” He also stated that his client plans to appeal, obviously not knowing (or not caring) that the success rate of appeals on federal convictions is less than three percent.

Johnson’s long-time executive assistant, Garnell Jamison, who went on trial with Johnson, was also convicted of all 11 charges in his indictment. He could face up to five years in federal prison when the pair is sentenced in October. Johnson, at age 75, faces up to 10 years in prison when Judge John Adams — who is known to hand out fairly stiff sentences — hands down their punishment.

This is the same Ken Johnson that former Ward 7 councilman TJ Dow attempted to give over $730,000 of block grant money that he had accumulated over his eight years in office, money that was supposed to go to assist struggling residents with home repairs and other neighborhood projects. However, when voters booted him out of office in 2017, he used the time between his defeat in November of 2017 to his last day in office, December 31, to try to transfer the money to Johnson. Others on city council saw through the underhanded scheme and would not go along with it.

Now Dow is attempting to make comeback. However, when the Plain Dealer endorsed Stephanie Howse, it took the high unusual step of reminding ward residents of the dastardly scheme.

It wrote, “What ward residents should not do is bring back the destructive politics of TJ Dow, defeated by Basheer Jones by just 13 votes four years ago. Dow’s peevish response to that defeat says it all: He sought (unsuccessfully) to have $731,496 intended for Ward 7 projects transferred to Ward 4. Dow’s priorities? Himself, not Ward 7.”

What’s that old saying about “birds of a feather? They flock together.

From CoolCleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author at http://NeighborhoodSolutionsIn

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