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Councilman Vinny Palermo remains in jail ahead of trial: city attorneys review section of Omaha charter

Posted at 11:05 PM, Apr 28, 2023

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The city is investigating to determine if Councilman Vinny Palermo may have violated the city charter.

He is currently in jail charged in federal court with honest services fraud conspiracy, two counts of honest services fraud, bank fraud and five counts of wire fraud. His title as city council vice president has also been temporarily removed.

3 news now reporter Molly Hudson spoke to Omaha Deputy City Attorney Bernard in den Bosch about a section of the charter they are looking into now, while others are calling for Vinny Palermo's resignation.

Section 8.05 is in the spotlight now as another possibility that could determine Vinny Palermo's future on the city council.

"Section 8.05 of the charter prohibits employees as well as city officials to receive a benefit from city contracts," said in den Bosch.

According to the federal indictment, Omaha Glass Pro, once owned by Vinny Palermo, allegedly received $93,000 from city contracts.

"There were allegations in the indictment that Mr. Palermo had, companies that Mr. Palermo was affiliated with had received city contracts," said in den Bosch.

Section 8.05 also states, for willful violations of that provision that person can forfeit their office.

"It was another potential area where Mr. Palermo's continued service as a city council person could be in jeopardy," said in den Bosch.

It was brought up at the city council on Tuesday, but in den Bosch says he has been looking at it since the indictments were released.

"I quite frankly discussed it with a couple (of) council people last Saturday, three days before the council meeting," he said.

But simply having these allegations within the indictment isn't enough to act on yet.

"Obviously they have evidence that they have that is based on but we are not necessarily privy to the same evidence that the US Attorney's Office has, so we have to gather evidence to be able to establish whether that is in fact true," said

And he says that could take some time.

"Some of the information is easy to get public documents, some of the other information relative to whether or not someone has an interest in a company, it may not be available publicly," said

Meanwhile, a federal judge decided on Friday that Vinny Palermo will stay behind bars until trial, prompting other city officials to call for his resignation.

That includes Mayor Jean Stothert, Council President Pete Festersen and Council Member Brinker Harding.

See the statements from officials below:

Mayor Stothert:

"Following the federal judge’s order that Vinny Palermo remain in jail until trial, I again call on him to resign his seat on the Omaha City Council. The residents of Council District 4 deserve representation on the Council. His resignation will begin the process to replace him and the Council can continue its important work without further interruption.

Without his resignation, the City Charter requires Palermo to forfeit his seat after three consecutive months of unexcused absences or six consecutive months of absence for any reason. If convicted, he would forfeit his seat. The City Law Department is also exploring other options that may be allowed to require forfeiture of his council seat."

Festersen Statement
Harding Statement.PNG

in den Bosch says if they are able to gather the evidence they need, then conversations with the council will follow to determine the process going forward.

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