Judge Calls McCloskey's Crimes "Gross Acts of Stupidity" - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Judge Calls McCloskey's Crimes "Gross Acts of Stupidity"

TOLEDO -- Prosecutors call Bob McCloskey's crime "intentional, greedy acts." Now the former Toledo city councilman is going to prison on three felony bribery charges. McCloskey could have received up to 10 years behind bars. But in federal court Friday, he got 27 months in prison and a $5,000 fine. Within 30 days, he'll be moved to a federal prison in Ashland, Kentucky.

For McCloskey's state conviction, he was sentenced to one year in prison -- but he'll serve that at the same time as his federal sentence. Until he's transferred to Kentucky, McCloskey will spend his time in the Lucas County Jail.

It's believed that Bob McCloskey is the first sitting Toledo councilman to be convicted of felonies.

Friday, an apology came from the long-time east Toledoan. "I'm mostly sorry to my family -- my wife, my children -- and I brought my children here today to show them what not to do and not to make the same mistakes their father did," he said.

Outside the courtroom, McCloskey would not answer News 11's question when we asked, "What do you want to say to the people who supported you over the years?" All he would say was, "No comment."

The one-time elected official violated the public's trust by committing bribery. He accepted $5,000, promising an unnamed businessman help on a zoning change and the acquisition of city-owned land. McCloskey also promised EJS Properties help on a zoning change if they'd give $100,000 to a Pilkington prescription drug plan for retirees.

EJS Properties' Eric Speckin says 27 months in prison is not enough. "I think he should have been punished for what he did to me, and I don't think this sentence really accomplishes that."

McCloskey's attorney says the former councilman's reputation is forever tarnished and he's prepared to do his time. Attorney Jay Feldstein told News 11, "One of the things that he said to me today -- and I think it's classic Bob McCloskey -- 'If Martha Stewart can get through it. I can get through it.'"

All sides agreed Friday that McCloskey's sentence was a sad ending to his 12 years as a public servant. At the sentencing, federal court Judge David Katz called McCloskey's bribery activity "gross acts of stupidity."

What do his former constituents think? To find out, we went to east Toledo.

Mike Lambrillotte said, "Seems like government around here is getting really corrupt and amazing the way things are happening nowadays."

Richard Hicks told us, "I'm sorry to hear that. I like Bob. I thought Bob was alright. He just made a big mistake and gotta pay for it."

But not everyone feels that way. McCloskey was a regular customer at the Takacs Meat Market. Patty Rajner still thinks he's a good guy. She also thinks his sentence is outrageous. "I feel bad for him," she said. "It's a long time. I don't know exactly if he deserves that. Wow. It's a shock."

Stan Sagan is a Bob McCloskey fan, too. The former city councilman gave him advice about how to go about opening his new gaming business six months ago. He finds the bribery conviction puzzling. "I believe that his intention was good," Sagan said. "So he got caught between the spirit of the law and the letter of the law."

Don Monroe with the River East Economic Development Corporation blames McCloskey's bribery actions on medication. "I guess when you're under such severe medication, maybe you do some things you normally wouldn't do," he said.

But two court judges feel the best medication for McCloskey is to sentence him to prison for breaking the law. It's a tough pill to swallow, and one that -- for McCloskey -- will take 27 months to dissolve.

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