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Councilman Kenyatta Johnson + Wife Indicted; 13 Injured in Apt Fire; Gov Wolf's $1.1B Asbestos Plan
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 01/30/20 12:56 am | updated: 01/30/20 1:07 am
The United States Attorney's Office announced federal corruption charges against Philadelphia Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, his wife Dawn Chavous, and two others. The announcement was made at a press conference at the US Attorney's Office in Center City on Wednesday morning, 1/29. The other two charged in the grand jury indictment include Universal Community Homes Chief Executive Officer and Board President Abdur Rahim Islam and former Chief Financial Officer and Secretary of Universal's Board Shahied Dawan. The 22-count indictment alleged a wide-ranging racketeering conspiracy including bribery, honest services fraud, multiple counts of wire fraud, and tax offenses. Johnson and Chavous were each charged with two counts of honest services wire fraud. They do not face racketeering charges. Prosecutors argue that Islam and Dawan hired Chavous for consulting work and paid her $66,000. In return, Johnson performed official actions and helped the non-profit Universal Companies get favorable zoning changes. Authorities say the consulting work was a 'sham' and it was part of a 'pay to play' scheme. Johnson is expected to surrender on Friday. They both face a maximum of 40 years if convicted. "What we have here is four people pretending their motives were purely civic-minded, when, in fact, they were unlawfully conspiring to enrich themselves," Christian Zajac, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Philadelphia Division, said. "As alleged in the indictment, Abdur Rahim Islam and Shahied Dawan stole nearly half a million dollars from Universal - money for themselves, and to use as bribes to further their financial pursuits. Councilman Kenyatta Johnson accepted their payoffs and based his official actions on those bribes, with Dawn Chavous providing him cover." See Councilman Johnson's statement below.

A 2-alarm apartment fire in King of Prussia has injured 13 people, including 6 police officers and an EMT on Wednesday night, 1/29. It happened at 10:20 p.m. at the Kingswood Apartments & Townhomes on the 200 block of West Byron Place off of S. Gulph Road in Upper Merion. Police officers arrived before fire and rescue and went into the building to get residents out. Heavy flames could be seen coming from the building's roof. It was brought under control shortly before midnight. The injured were taken to the hospital. No word on their conditions. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The American Red Cross is on scene assisting displaced residents.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf unveiled a $1.1 billion package that would help eliminate lead and asbestos contamination in Pennsylvania's schools, homes, day care facilities and public water systems. The money would come from expanding existing grant programs and be included in Wolf's upcoming budget proposal. The budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year starts July 1. Philadelphia has mounting contamination problems in its school buildings. This year, teachers and students in several schools have been moved to temporary buildings or kept out of class all together while remediation is underway. "After decades of inadequate state funding which necessitated substantial deferred maintenance, Philadelphia and other school districts across the Commonwealth have school buildings requiring billions of dollars in renovations, remediation, and repairs. These investments can no longer wait, and I sincerely appreciate Governor Wolf's leadership on this critical issue. He's clearly heard and responded to our urgent call for more state support," Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement.

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(1) response


 by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA | responded: 01/30 1:07 am
Statement from Philadelphia Councilman Kenyatta Johnson:
"First, let me be clear: I am innocent. I did nothing wrong. I am the victim of overzealous federal prosecutors who have spent the last five years looking for something to charge me with. If charged with any crime, I will be pleading not guilty. Any further questions about the case should be directed to my attorney, Patrick J. Egan of Fox Rothschild.

I want to say that I love my beautiful wife more than anything. She is an amazing mother to our children. I am so lucky to be her husband. She makes me a better man every single day. I know that we will get through this together.

I must say, I'm insulted on her behalf at the allegations made by these federal prosecutors. She's never needed help from me to land a job or make any other advancement in her career. No one who knows her doubts her intelligence and drive. Her work ethic is highly regarded and known to be extraordinary. No one has worked harder than her to achieve her dreams. Any claim that she didn't earn her position is preposterous.

I am humbled by the outpouring of support that we have received. Thank you to everyone who has called, texted, e-mailed, and otherwise got in touch to offer encouragement. This is a difficult time for our family, but I am confident that we can get through it with your prayers and continued support.

I also want to reassure my constituents. It is a tremendous honor to represent you every day in City Hall. I will keep fighting for you regardless of what happens with this federal case. I will not let it stop me from keeping up the fight for our community and advancing our shared agenda."

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