Philadelphia

Indicted Philadelphia Councilman Bobby Henon No-Shows for Meeting, Pleads Not Guilty to Federal Charges

What to Know

  • Philadelpiha City Councilman Bobby Henon is among several people charged in an 160-page federal indictment.
  • He is accused of conspiring with union leader John 'Johnny Doc' Dougherty to strong-arm businesses and other trade groups in the city.
  • Henon is expected to federal appear in federal court this week.

A day after being charged in a sweeping federal indictment as the political pawn of Philadelphia's most powerful union leader, Councilman Bobby Henon pleaded not guilty to bribery, conspiracy and fraud charges. 

He was released on $50,000 bail on his own recognizance, his lawyer said.

Henon skipped the regularly scheduled city council session Thursday morning but introduced, via proxy, legislation that would "explore economic crimes and other unfair practices within the city's construction industry."

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The legislation, introduced by Councilman Bill Greenlee in Henon's absence, would increase the amount of building and code inspectors within the Department of Licenses and Inspection, the same department Henon allegedly used to bolster the influence of electricians' union IBEW Local 98, according to the federal indictment.

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday charged Henon in a 116-count indictment that accused him of doing the bidding of union allies, including Local 98 leader John "Johnny Doc" Dougherty.

On Thursday, Henon was a no-show for city council's regularly scheduled  meeting despite tweeting earlier in the day that he would be present.

Henon, a former electrician who continues to collect a salary as a union official, is accused of conspiring with Dougherty to apply pressure on trade groups and businesses through his position on city council, according to federal prosecutors.

Dougherty and other union officials are also accused of embezzling union funds in excess of $600,000 and bullying businesses to hire Local 98 workers, according to the indictment. 

This included strong-arming administrators at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia over the installation of an MRI machine and pressuring Comcast to use Local 98 workers to install its fiber optic network, according to the indictment.

"I have done nothing wrong," Henon said in a statement Wednesday. "Every action I have taken as City Council member has been with the goal of serving working people."

On Thursday, he doubled down on Twitter: “Looking forward to continuing my work on behalf of the people of the City of Philadelphia at today's Council Meeting!”

But just a few hours later, as the weekly city council session got underway, his desk remained empty. Earlier in the morning, Henon was granted a leave of absence from Thursday's session.

The defendants named in the federal indictment include Henon, the majority leader on council and chair of the public property and public works committee; union president Brian Burrows, and union officials Michael Neill, Marita Crawford, Niko Rodriguez and Brian Fiocca - Dougherty's nephew. Also charged was Anthony Massa, who ran a construction company that received more than $1.8 million from the union for work done between 2010 and 2016.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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