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Larry Sykes running for Toledo council spot again amid federal bribery, extortion charges

The former councilman was suspended, along with three other Democratic colleagues, after being indicted on federal charges of bribery and extortion.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Suspended Toledo City Councilman Larry Sykes, who's off council as his part into an alleged bribes-for-votes scheme goes through federal court, has filed paperwork to run again for council. 

The Lucas County Board of Elections confirmed on Thursday that Sykes filed the proper paperwork to again run for the seat. 

Sykes and fellow Democratic council colleagues Yvonne Harper, Gary Johnson and Tyrone Riley were indicted in 2020 on federal charges of bribery and extortion, as was late attorney Keith Mitchell. Mitchell died in April. An investigation alleges Toledo business owners paid more than $34,000 in bribes for the council members' votes that would be advantageous to their businesses. 

Sykes says he's running simply because his term is up. 

He's confident that he can win.

"I had my petitions signed so fast it scared me. I just turned in 420, or 425 signatures and people calling me now saying 'Larry, can I sign?'" Sykes said.

He says he's no stranger to scrutiny but believes his Toledo roots and past work in the city will carry him through.

"I have not touched a child, I have not robbed, I have not murdered. People can say whatever they want about you and they have always said things about me, but that's not my worry," Sykes said.

The four council members accepted suspensions from their council posts and in their place a judge appointed Cerssandra McPherson, Vanice Williams, Tiffany Preston Whitman and John Hobbs III. McPherson and Whitman are running for their seats again, while Williams and Hobbs can run for re-election in two years.

On Wednesday, it was also learned that Hobbs is under investigation for allegedly misusing a state vehicle for personal business while on official business in his capacity as an inspector for the Ohio State Cosmetology and Barber Board.