The 5-4 Stadium Vote: Where Are They Now?
April 16th, 2018 was a big day for FC Cincinnati and their fans. With a 5-4 vote, the Cincinnati City Council approved an ordinance putting $40 million towards stadium infrastructure on what would become TQL Stadium. Since that day, things have been anything but boring for those nine council members. Let’s take a quick glance at what they've been up to...
PG Sittenfeld - PG had long held aspirations much loftier than city council, and his pivot to voting 'yes' came with it's own self serving press conference. Unfortunately for him, in November 2020 he was indicted on two counts of honest services wire fraud, bribery, and attempted extortion by a government official. Higher office will be a tough sell after this, but he can look at that beautiful stadium with pride.
David Mann - The mostly milquetoast Mann’s most visible post-FCC vote moment was abruptly ending a contentious hearing on policing in the wake of the George Floyd protests. The tone deaf move had many expecting his future political aspirations to be crushed, but a year removed finds him running for mayor against the favored Aftab Pureval.
Amy Murray - Murray left her council position midway through her second term to work in the U.S. Department of Defense for President Trump. A more embarassing mark on one's record than a federal indictment, Murray's brief time in Washington might be a precursor to a congressional run.
Christopher Smitherman - Vice Mayor of Cincinnati, Smitherman is running as an Independent for Hamilton County Commissioner. In local politics, the only honest party is no party at all.
Jeff Pastor - After winning election by a mere 223 votes over opponent Michelle Dillingham, Pastor was a savior for the stadium ordinance. Pastor made some national news for his emotional interview during last summer’s police protests. In November 2020 Pastor was arrested for conspiring to commit honest services wire fraud, bribery, attempted extortion by a government official and money laundering.
Tamaya Dennard - Currently serving 18 months in prison for wire fraud charges. Originally charged for bribery and attempted extortion as well, related to the selling of her council vote.
Chris Seelbach - Dropped out of the mayor’s race in February of this year and says he plans on leaving politics. In April 2020 Seelbach suggested FC Cincinnati give back some of the money from the ordinance in order to cover city costs caused by budget problems and the corona virus.
Wendell Young - Was charged with felony tampering with records involved in the “Gang of Five” investigation. Has pleaded not guilty and continues to serve on council.
Greg Landsman - Running for re-election to city council. In February, Landsman apologized to fellow councilman Christopher Smitherman for leaked texts which implied he was using his wife’s cancer to benefit himself politically.
FC Cincinnati has miraculously come out relatively unscathed from the endless council scandals. With the club eventually building out more and more around the stadium itself, it's likely they'll be more dust ups and angry townhalls. Nothing, however, will be as contentious as the lead up to building TQL. One can only hope in the future there are less federal arrests, and a little more love.