City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, wife plead not guilty in federal corruption case

Kenyatta Johnson ( Jared Piper/PHLCouncil )

Philadelphia City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson on Friday pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges after he and his wife, Dawn Chavous, who also pleaded not guilty, were indicted on federal corruption charges 

They are charged with honest services wire fraud in a 22-count indictment that

Johnson, 46, a Democrat who has served on the council since 2012, is accused of engaging in official actions in exchange for payments. Chavous, 40, is accused of having entered into a “sham” consulting agreement with a nonprofit that was used to funnel payments to her husband.


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Prosecutors have alleged that the Philadelphia-based nonprofit Universal Companies was “hijacked” by the pair “and turned into a criminal enterprise in order to commit these crimes of corruption and greed." The nonprofit was founded by music producer Kenny Gamble to improve Philadelphia communities through education, real estate and other realms.

The couple have vowed to fight the charges and clear their names.

Two former executives of Universal were also charged.

Abdur Rahim Islam, 62, also pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of bribing the couple and others, and stealing nearly $500,000 from Universal, his former employer. The fourth defendant, Shahied Dawan, 68, the nonprofit’s former chief financial officer, pleaded not guilty Thursday to similar charges.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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