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Henon awaits prison site decision before turn-in date

Bobby Henon
Brian McMonagle

Former City Councilman Bobby Henon will report to a federal prison on April 17, and will know in a few weeks where he will be housed.

When U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Schmehl last week sentenced Henon to 42 months in prison, he ordered the time to be spent as close to Philadelphia as possible.

Henon was convicted on 10 counts of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, honest services wire fraud and federal program bribery.

The sentence was long delayed, as Henon was convicted by a jury in November 2021

Henon’s trial centered on the salary he was paid by International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 while in Council, with prosecutors saying he acted on the wishes of then-union boss John Dougherty.

“Johnny Doc” was convicted along with Henon and soon after resigned his post. He has not been sentenced, as he faces two other union-related trials.

Henon, 54, was 98’s political director before being elected to Council. At the March 1 sentencing hearing, held at the federal courthouse at 6th and Market streets, more than a dozen people told Schmehl about the good work Henon had done.

Among those offering praise for Henon were retired longtime local AFL-CIO president Pat Eiding; the Rev. Joe Campellone, former president of Father Judge; Jay Pross, owner of the Art History 101 shirt company; Mike Bresnan, president of Local 22, the firefighters and paramedics union; and Vince Schiavone, CEO of Caring for Friends.

Just before Schmehl announced his decision, prosecutor Bea Witzleben reminded the judge that Henon’s conduct lasted for 18 months and that guidelines called for a sentence of about 8 to 10 years. Witzleben, pointing to the testimony of the character witnesses, said it’s a public servant’s job to do good work.

Schmehl announced he received more than 175 letters in support of Henon and pointed to the crowded courtroom and the defendant’s lack of a prior criminal record.

“The defendant has been a good public servant,” he said.

Schmehl went on to say that Henon disclosed his salary from 98 and that everyone knew he had a close relationship with Dougherty. He suggested the city should have addressed the salary issue.

In determining a sentence, the judge said he had to consider the harm caused by Henon and the need to send a message of deterrence.

In the end, in addition to the prison term of 42 months, Schmehl ordered Henon to perform 100 hours of community service, spend three years on supervised release, pay a $50,000 fine and forfeit some $207,000 in money from 98.

Henon addressed the media outside the courthouse.

“It’s been a humbling day,” he said.

Henon thanked his family and friends for their support and attorney Brian McMonagle for his legal acumen.

Henon accepted Schmehl’s decision.

“I will honor that sentence and come back and be right back into community service,” he said.

The media scrum ended when someone asked Henon if he regretted getting involved with Dougherty.

McMonagle described the character testimony as “heartfelt” and  “emotional” and said the 175 letters came from people from all walks of life.

McMonagle said many politicians have failed, but that the good ones get back up.

“This guy’s getting back up,” he said, pointing to Henon.

Henon was first elected to the 6th Councilmanic District seat in 2011 to replace the retiring Joan Krajewski. He resigned in January 2022, and fellow Democrat Mike Driscoll was unopposed in a special election to replace him. Henon did not run last year for another term as Democratic leader of the 65th Ward, and Driscoll was elected to replace him. ••

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