Former Cincinnati Police Captain Michael Savard pleaded guilty to bribery and tax charges yesterday in federal court.
According to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in June, Savard approached an unnamed CPD sergeant pursuing a promotion to lieutenant with an offer: if the sergeant paid Savard $5,000, he would retire before the end of the month. That, in turn, would open up the lieutenant position.
CPD promotes based on a list that is compiled from scores on a civil service test. That list was set to expire at the end of this month, meaning the sergeant in question would have had to take the test over again and may not have ended up in the same position on the list.
Federal law stipulates that it is a crime to receive $5,000 or more in exchange for affecting the outcome of a public hiring process for an agency that receives more than $10,000 in federal funding.
Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman and IRS Criminal Investigations Special Agent in Charge William Cheung revealed the charges at a news conference in June.
“If you think about it, if you have somebody who was out there selling a position, if you would pay a certain amount of money to someone from the Cincinnati Police who would guarantee you a certain position, I don’t think anyone would question that that is misconduct,” Glassman said at the news conference. “Savard was, in essence, shaking down a sergeant for cash in order to guarantee him a promotion to a higher rank.”
The Internal Revenue Service was already investigating Savard regarding charges that he did not report his full income from off-duty security assignments on his 2015 tax return. He pleaded guilty to those charges yesterday as well.
Savard, who had his police powers suspended in January and retired from CPD June 9, allegedly indicated to the sergeant that he was aware of the IRS investigation and was hoping to cut a deal with prosecutors.
The sergeant told CPD and federal investigators about the bribery offer in May and in June delivered the money to Savard, who was promptly arrested.
Savard still awaits a sentencing hearing.