Ex-state lawmaker, city commissioner who pleaded guilty in corruption case say they shouldn’t go to prison

Two men who pleaded guilty in a federal investigation of public corruption in the Dayton region say they shouldn’t go to prison.

Former Dayton City Commissioner Joey D. Williams, 54, and former state Rep. Clayton Luckie, 56, both filed documents with the court asking that they not be incarcerated.

Williams will find out Wednesday if he will go to prison after being convicted of one felony count of corruptly soliciting a bribe. His sentencing is scheduled at 10:30 a.m. before U.S. District Court Judge Thomas M. Rose.

RELATED: Ex-city commissioner Joey Williams pleads guilty, apologizes to ‘citizens of Dayton’

On the same day, Luckie is scheduled to surrender to the U.S. Marshals and go to prison for four months, followed by four months of home detention and three years of supervised release after his conviction on one felony count of mail fraud.

Indictments of the two men and five other people were announced last year in what investigators described as a long-running federal probe of public corruption in the Dayton region. Rose is presiding over all seven cases.

Williams asks for home confinement

Williams has asked for probation, or at most, a year of home confinement, according to a sentencing memo submitted last month by his attorney, Patrick J. Hanley. A probation officer who reviewed his case has recommended two years in prison.

Hanley also requested that Williams pay restitution of $28,000 and have two years of supervised release.

“He is ashamed for what he did, its effects on his family and the community,” wrote Hanley. “He has a deep remorse for his actions.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent G. Tabacchi said Williams should go to prison, according to a sentencing memorandum Tabacchi submitted earlier this month.

Tabacchi cited “the egregious nature of his offense, the requirement to afford just punishment, and the compelling need to deter others from engaging in political corruption in the future,” and he said Williams’ crime erodes confidence in government.

“When an elected official engages in illegal self-dealing, he deprives his fellow citizens of their intrinsic right to an impartial and fair government that works in the public’s best interest,” Tabacchi wrote. “Corrupt activities therefore strike at the heart of government institutions designed to serve, protect and benefit the public.”

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

Tabacchi said a prison sentence for Williams would promote respect for the law and “deter public officials from soliciting bribes.”

In 2015 Williams accepted money and home improvements worth $28,000 from a contractor in return for helping that unnamed contractor get contracts with the city of Dayton and CityWide Development Corp., according to a statement of facts Williams signed as part of his September plea agreement.

That contractor is described as “the informant” in Williams’ sentencing memorandum.

Williams was terminated as president of the Dayton market for Key Bank after his indictment, according to the sentencing memo. He served 16 years on city commission before resigning in February 2018 and was on the Dayton Public Schools board for eight years.

Williams’ sentencing memorandum cites his strong local family ties, his lack of a previous criminal history and his years of public service.

“Losing his career as a banker, becoming known as a convicted felon, losing the status in the community as a respected individual, paying restitution, and having to endure the consequences of home-incarceration afford adequate deterrence in this case,” Hanley wrote. “He feels he has disgraced his family and ruined his reputation in the community. He has paid a dear price to date.”

Luckie loses appeal

Luckie was convicted of taking $2,000 from a contractor in a scheme to defraud the city of Dayton between June 2016 and January 2017. Luckie used an affiliation with an unnamed disadvantaged business to help the local demolition company fraudulently complete projects requiring minority-owned business participation, according to a statement of facts Luckie signed as part of his plea agreement.

Luckie created fake invoices and used magnetic signs on the demolition company’s truck to make it appear that a disadvantaged firm was on the job site, but the disadvantaged business did not actually do the work, according to the statement of facts.

RELATED: Dayton trying to end corruption in contracting

As part of the plea agreement, Luckie waived his right to appeal, except if he had a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel or prosecutorial misconduct.

In December he submitted a motion to stay his sentence and later a motion to grant appeal filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, alleging that prosecutors withheld information Luckie said would have exonerated him.

Both motions were opposed by prosecutors.

U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers said Luckie had broadly waived his right to appeal his conviction when he pleaded guilty last year to one count of mail fraud, according to a motion filed by DeVillers. He also called Luckie’s claims, “unsubstantiated hearsay from an unknown source that the government withheld evidence in discovery.”

On Jan. 15 the appeals court dismissed Luckie’s appeal as untimely and denied the motion to stay his sentence.

Luckie, who could not be reached for comment, said in an earlier interview that he was going to seek a pardon from President Donald Trump.

RELATED: Convicted former Dayton lawmaker wants Trump to pardon him

Upcoming trials

Four others have pleaded not guilty and await their trials: Dayton businessman Brian Higgins, 48; former city of Dayton business and technical assistance administrator RoShawn Winburn, 45; Steve Rauch, 64, owner of Steve Rauch Inc.; and former Trotwood Mayor Joyce Sutton Cameron, 71, owner of Green Star Trucking Inc.

Her husband, James Cameron, 81, of Trotwood, who is an employee of Green Star, also was indicted but has not yet made an initial court appearance. His attorney could not be reached for comment and DeVillers’ office also would not explain the delay.

“We cannot discuss the specifics of James Cameron’s case status, other than to say charges against him remain pending,” said Jennifer Thornton, spokeswoman for DeVillers.

RELATED: Three new indictments expand Dayton public corruption probe

Rauch and Joyce Sutton Cameron are set to go on trial March 2. The two of them and James Cameron were indicted on one of count conspiracy to commit mail fraud and six counts mail fraud, all felonies.

Rauch’s attorney, Chad Robert Ziepfel, and Joyce Sutton Cameron’s attorney, Lawrence Greger, declined comment.

The indictment alleges that Rauch used Green Star’s minority status to win demolition contracts from the city of Dayton and other government entities between 2012 and 2014. Rauch and the Camerons are accused of producing false documentation to make it appear Green Star had done work that Rauch had done, and they were paid a fee rather than the amount called for in the contract.

The state is seeking to revoke Green Star’s two disadvantaged business certifications and Joyce Sutton Cameron has appealed that action.

RELATED: State reviews status of trucking company after corruption indictment

Higgins faces three counts of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud, all felonies. Prosecutors filed a superseding indictment in December that contained the same counts but had additional details on the allegations. Higgins’ attorney, Anthony Cicero, says he is awaiting arraignment on that updated indictment.

Higgins' trial is scheduled for Feb. 18. He's accused of defrauding insurance company Assurant out of more than $100,000 by falsely claiming the money was used to repair damage from a leaking fish tank at a home he co-owned on Meeker Creek Drive in Dayton. Higgins allegedly used the insurance money at a casino, to pay for a planned restaurant and for his phone bill, according to the updated indictment.

Higgins has not held public office and, unlike the others indicted, his case does not involve public contracting allegations.

Winburn’s trial is scheduled for Feb. 24. He faces three counts of honest services wire fraud, two counts of corruptly soliciting a bribe and one count making a false statement to the FBI. All are felonies. He is accused of soliciting and accepting more than $20,000 in cash from individuals and companies between 2014 and 2017, according to the indictment.

RELATED: Dayton trying to end corruption in contracting

In return, Winburn allegedly provided disadvantaged business certifications without performing complete verification of qualifications. He also allegedly disclosed confidential information about upcoming city projects and influenced city employees to not fully sanction those who failed to comply with contractual obligations, according to the indictment.

Winburn was fired by the city on May 3 after his indictment was announced in late April. He has appealed the firing to the city’s Civil Service Board. His attorney, David P. Williamson, said work on the criminal case is continuing.

The Dayton Daily News first broke the news about a federal investigation into corruption in Dayton. The newspaper will continue to dig into this important story to find out what’s really going on. If you have tips or any information on this investigation, please call or email Lynn Hulsey at 937-225-7455 or Lynn.Hulsey@cmg.com.

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