Former Dayton City Commissioner Joey D. Williams was sentenced Wednesday to a year in federal prison for corruptly soliciting a bribe, a federal felony.
Williams is one of seven people indicted in a wide-ranging federal public corruption investigation in the Dayton region that was announced last year.
“Today’s sentencing is a reminder that no one is above the law. Committing the sort of criminal conduct that Williams did can land you in jail,” U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers said in a statement released Wednesday night.
Once his sentence is completed, Williams will serve two years of supervised release, the first six months of which will be in home confinement, said U.S. District Court Judge Thomas M. Rose. Williams must pay $28,000 in restitution for free home improvements he accepted in exchange for using his influence as a city commissioner in 2015 to help an unnamed demolition contractor get $150,000 in contracts from the city of Dayton and CityWide Development Corp.
Williams, who last year pleaded guilty as charged in an agreement that broadly limits his appeal rights, will be permitted to voluntarily surrender to the U.S. Marshal’s office in 30 to 45 days, Rose said.
Prior to sentencing, Williams apologized to the community, friends and family. About two dozen people, including his wife, Natasha Williams, his two adult sons and his parents attended the sentencing.
“This situation, your honor, makes me sick. It makes me sick that I’ve done what I’ve done,” Williams said. “I pray that I get a chance to redeem myself through my faith, through God’s mercy. And I’m confident that I will get an opportunity to do so.”
“I just want you to know that I won’t let you down, and I won’t let this community down again,” said Williams.
Williams’ attorney, Patrick J. Hanley, said incarceration was not necessary for a first-time offender like Williams. He asked that Rose sentence Williams to probation or a year of home confinement.
In a sentencing memorandum submitted to the court, Hanley said Williams had “deep remorse” for his actions, which cost him his job as a bank executive and “shattered” his position as a respected member of the community.
“Everything’s gone now,” Hanley told Rose. “The only thing he’s got is his inner fortitude to try to overcome this situation.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Tabacchi said Williams should go to prison.
“His actions add to the public perception that government and government officials and government employees aren’t looking out for the interests that the people they serve,” Tabacchi said in court. “They are looking out for their own interests.”
The federal corruption probe included indictments of seven people in the area. Two of them, Williams and state Rep. Clayton Luckie, 56, pleaded guilty, four others pleaded not guilty and one has yet to appear in court.
On Wednesday Luckie surrendered to the U.S. Marshal’s office and is incarcerated at Ashland Federal Correctional Institution, according to prison records. He was convicted in July of a single felony count of mail fraud and sentenced to four months in prison followed by four months of home confinement, three years supervised release and 100 hours of community service.
Luckie admitted to fraudulently using the city of Dayton’s disadvantaged business program to help a nondisadvantaged demolition contractor complete city contracts between June 2016 and January 2017. Luckie received $2,000 in the scheme.
All but one of the federal indictments involve public contracting with the city of Dayton and city officials have been working on reforms since the indictments were announced in April.
“This has been a challenging experience for the city organization and staff. We have used this situation as the impetus to review and assess our procurement processes and policies and will be implementing changes as necessary,” said City Manager Shelley Dickstein in a written statement. “We will not allow this to change our focus on our mission to provide high quality services to the people of Dayton.”
Williams served 16 years on city commission and eight on the Dayton Public Schools board. He was president of the Dayton market for Key Bank, but his employment was terminated after his indictment.
David Ponitz, president emeritus of Sinclair Community College, told Rose that Williams’ community service had benefited Dayton public schools and the college and there are roles Williams can continue to play.
“Prison doesn’t help him or doesn’t help the community. That’s why I spoke,” Ponitz said in an interview outside the courtroom.
Rose said he took into consideration Williams years of service to the community, his remorse, his lack of a prior criminal record and the many letters of support submitted for Williams. But Rose said he also had to consider the seriousness of the crime and the need to impose a sentence that promotes respect for the law.
The maximum sentence Williams faced was 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. Restitution is mandatory.
In an interview after sentencing, Hanley said Williams is “glad it’s over with. He’s anxious to get on with the rest of his life and get back to as normal as he can.”
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, who served with Williams on commission, issued a written statement after his sentencing.
“This has been an extremely difficult process. I appreciate that Joey Williams admitted his guilt and accepted the court’s sentence,” Whaley said. “I have said all along we have to respect the process, and I look forward to our community moving past this.”
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