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Published: Wednesday, 4/30/2008

Ex-Toledo councilman McCloskey to get out of prison early

McCloskey McCloskey

Former Toledo Councilman Bob McCloskey will be released next week from a federal prison camp in Kentucky and transferred to a halfway house after serving 20 months of a 27-month sentence on bribery convictions, his attorney said yesterday.

McCloskey, 62, a Democrat who was on council 13 years until his resignation in May, 2006, is to be released Tuesday from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility in Ashland, said Jay Feldstein, an attorney who represented McCloskey on federal and state bribery charges.

U.S. District Judge David Katz sentenced McCloskey to the 27-month sentence July 21, 2006, for accepting $2,000 and $3,000 bribes offered five weeks apart from a businessman who wanted assistance from the city on development projects.

He was given a concurrent one-year punishment for an unrelated bribery conviction in Lucas County Common Pleas

Court from Judge James Bates.

Mr. Feldstein said the release from prison and transfer to the halfway facility is normal procedure for federal prisoners, who receive credit for good behavior in the lockup.

"This is to ease the period of transition so they are not going from a situation where they have no freedom to a situation where they have total freedom," said Mr. Feldstein, adding that McCloskey likely would be in the halfway program for 60 to 90 days.

With the time he is expected to be in custody at the halfway house, the former councilman will have served 22 to 23 months.

"When you do the math, it is about where it should be," Mr. Feldstein said. "To my knowledge, he is not being treated differently than any other prisoner. This is not something special just for Bob."

Rick Kerger, a defense attorney who represents defendants charged with federal crimes, said conditions for eligibility for halfway house programs require the defendant to secure employment.

Mr. Kerger said restrictions given inmates by placing them in halfway houses eases their return into society.

"There is a disconnect from being in a structured environment and going to one that is unstructured. This is a step-down unit for society, for the inmate, and the inmate's family," he said.

While under indictment in state court for trying to secure $100,000 from a Michigan charter school developer, McCloskey took the bribe money in meetings with the businessman in March and April of 2006. One of the encounters occurred as he was rushing to attend an ethics seminar resulting from the criminal investigation of Tom Noe.

Judge Katz imposed 200 hours of community service on McCloskey that he was ordered to begin after his release from prison, and three years of supervised release.

Mr. Feldstein said he went to Ashland three times to visit with his client, most recently in January. He said McCloskey was a trusty in the camp who had the responsibility of driving a van to transport other prisoners outside the facility.

"He was very well liked. He abided by the rules and he seemed to get along with everybody," he said.

McCloskey's son, Cory, said he and his mother would not talk about his father's release from prison and referred questions to Mr. Feldstein.

- Mark Reiter

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