Clayton Luckie: ‘President Trump, I need a pardon’

Former state Rep. Clayton Luckie, who is headed to prison after pleading guilty to a federal mail fraud charge, says he did nothing wrong and will ask President Donald Trump for a pardon.

“President Trump, I need a pardon. Bottom line. If you care about the minority community this would be a good example to show a pardon,” Luckie said in an exclusive interview Tuesday afternoon with the Dayton Daily News and News Center 7.

Luckie is one of seven people indicted in a federal public corruption probe and the first to be sentenced. During two news conferences announcing the indictments, Joe Deters, acting FBI special agent in charge of the Cincinnati office, said authorities were investigating “a culture of corruption in Dayton area politics.”

Luckie also said in his interview Tuesday that he might run again for his former Statehouse seat. He resigned from that office before being sent to prison in 2013 on multiple felony convictions. Luckie contends that his state and federal felonies do not preclude him from holding elected office.

RELATED: Dayton corruption investigation: Former State Rep. Clayton Luckie sentenced to prison for mail fraud

On Nov. 15, Luckie was sentenced to four months in prison, four months of home confinement and three years of supervised release. He was convicted of one felony count of mail fraud in a scheme with an unnamed company to defraud the city of Dayton using its disadvantaged business contracting program. He has not yet received notification of when he is to report to prison.

Luckie said he was the victim of a sting and that federal prosecutors investigating public corruption in the Dayton region went after him because he is black. He pleaded guilty because he didn’t believe a black man could get a fair trial, he said, and he thought he would get probation.

“I pled to that because that was their story,” Luckie said. “When you go to court, it’s who has the best story.”

Jennifer Thornton, spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers, declined to comment.

Luckie said a similar calculation led him to plead guilty in Franklin County Common Pleas Court in 2013 to eight felony counts and one misdemeanor related to illegally diverting up to $130,000 in campaign contributions. Spending that did not appear to be campaign-related included ATM withdrawals at casinos, a payment on a home equity line of credit and purchases at various retailers.

During the interview Tuesday, Luckie blamed paperwork mistakes by other people, but said he did use the money buy furniture for his apartment and for jewelry he donated to two kids at his church to give as a present to their dying mother.

RELATED: Ex-State Rep. Luckie going to prison

“The only thing I was guilty on was not making sure my paperwork was completed. They threw all that other stuff in,” said Luckie, whose 2013 plea agreement led prosecutors to drop more than 40 other criminal counts.

“Being black in America, you have to do what you have to do to survive,” Luckie said. “And I did that to survive. Because you don’t have a damn chance in court being black. Black folks do not have a chance in this judicial system.”

RELATED: Indictments prompt city of Dayton to strengthen anti-fraud efforts

Several months after his 2016 release from prison, Luckie said he began providing consulting services to the company federal officials identify only as a demolition contractor dubbed “Corporation B” in the indictment. Luckie said he took a “shortcut” but didn’t break the law. He also would not identify Corporation B or the company he said he was working for as a logistics consultant.

“What I did and what I thought I was doing was legal, and when they put their own twist on it, this is why we’re here,” Luckie said.

Luckie attested to a statement of facts as part of his guilty plea that outlined the scheme to defraud the city. In that statement, Luckie said he agreed to help Corporation B make it appear that a company identified only as Corporation A performed work as a disadvantaged business. That was done to meet city of Dayton goals for disadvantaged business participation.

To create the false appearance that Corporation A was working at a demolition site, Luckie created fake invoices and purchased magnetic signs for Corporation B trucks, the statement of facts says. He received the signs through the mail — the basis for the federal mail fraud conviction.

RELATED: Three new indictments expand Dayton public corruption probe

Luckie now says he was not working as a disadvantaged company on the demolition contract, which he said was for a commercial structure in Dayton. He said he reached a verbal agreement to be in a “joint venture” with Corporation B and did not sign anything claiming to use disadvantaged status.

Luckie said he did perform logistics work for Corporation B and argued that it was legal for him to put his signs on the contractor’s truck, which he said was used to deliver gravel.

Luckie also said the contractor wanted him to submit an invoice for $20,000 on a job Luckie was to be paid $12,000 for, but Luckie said he refused. He said he ultimately accepted $2,000 in payment from the contractor.

Clayton also said the contractor made secret tape recordings of their conversations.

RELATED: Ex-Dayton commissioner, state lawmaker arrested; more arrests coming, feds say

Luckie said he disagrees with Deter’s comments about a culture of corruption.

“To have a culture of corruption, you have to have things that have already been happening,” Luckie said. “Not when they come and fictitiously try to make things happen.”

Seven people indicted in federal public corruption investigation

One count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and six counts of mail fraud:

- Steve Rauch, 64, of Germantown, owner of Steve Rauch Inc., pleaded not guilty.

- Joyce Sutton Cameron, 71 of Trotwood, owner of Green Star Trucking Inc. and former mayor of Trotwood, has not entered a plea.

- James Cameron, 80, of Trotwood, an employee of Green Star and Cameron’s husband, has not entered a plea.

One count corruptly soliciting a bribe:

- Former Dayton City Commissioner Joey D. Williams, 53, pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.

One count of mail fraud:

- Former State Rep. Clayton Luckie, 56, a Democrat who represented Dayton, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four months in prison, four months in home detention, three years of supervised release and 100 hours of community service.

Three counts of honest services wire fraud, two counts of corruptly soliciting a bribe and one count of making a false statement to the FBI:

- Former Dayton business and technical assistance administrator RoShawn Winburn, 45, pleaded not guilty.

Three counts of mail fraud and one of wire fraud:

- Dayton businessman Brian Higgins, 48, pleaded not guilty

Source: U.S. District Court for the Southern District

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