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Henon guilty, sentencing set for Feb. 22

Councilman Bobby Henon

City Councilman Bobby Henon faces a Feb. 22 sentencing after a federal jury convicted him Monday of 10 counts of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, honest services wire fraud and federal program bribery.

The jury of seven women and five men acquitted him of eight charges.

John Dougherty, 61, business manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98, was convicted of eight counts.

In a Facebook message, Henon’s staff said they are heartbroken for the councilman, his family, the 6th Councilmanic District, the labor community and the city. They want constituents to know Henon’s office at 6730 Torresdale Ave. will remain open weekdays.

“We are so proud of Councilman Bobby Henon and of the work we’ve done together,” they said.

The message concluded with the word, “Onward!,” a lyric in the chorus of the Alma Mater of North Catholic, where Henon graduated.

By law, Henon, 52, is required to resign at or before the time of sentencing. A special election will be called for his seat. Nobody has publicly discussed possible candidates in the district, which has a large Democratic-voter advantage. Privately, most Democrats point to state Rep. Mike Driscoll as a leading contender.

Another local special election is pending, as state Sen. John Sabatina Jr. will resign at the end of the year to become a Common Pleas Court judge.

State Rep. Jared Solomon called for Henon’s resignation in February 2019, shortly after his indictment, but declined to enter the Democratic primary against the incumbent. On Monday, Solomon said, “Today, the citizens of Philadelphia received the justice they deserve. Two years ago, I called for the resignation of Bobby Henon and began speaking out against the corrosive impact of Dougherty and others that are dedicated more to their own interests and not the people that we are obligated to represent. We cannot wait to rid our government and politics of corruption. Now, we need to unite and bring accountable, transparent government to all of Philadelphia.”

Dougherty said, “Justice was not served today, and I can’t tell you how disappointed I am by the jury’s decision. What Councilman Henon and I were found guilty of is how business and politics are typically and properly conducted. I will immediately appeal and have every confidence that I will prevail in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.”

A longtime Local 98 member, Henon’s trial centered on the salary he was paid by the union while in Council, with the government saying he acted on the wishes of Dougherty.

City Councilwoman Maria Quiñones Sánchez, a Henon foe, said, “Philadelphia City Council must put in place rules to ban outside employment for members. The potential for the appearance of conflict of interest is simply too strong and erodes the public trust. There can be no disputing that outside employment has the potential to compromise the integrity of our members. I would also point out that we are a full-time legislative body with a generous salary in the poorest big city in America.” ••

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