CLEVELAND -- Former Strongsville councilman Patrick J. Coyne pleaded guilty in court today to taking thousands in bribe money and also taking $32,000 from an investor in a non-existent Krispy Kreme franchise deal.
He was charged by way of an information, meaning he has a plea agreement in place to plead guilty.
The charges were part of the longstanding Cuyahoga County corruption investigation that went public July 28, 2008 with simultaneous raids on county offices, elected officials' homes, and the homes and business of people doing business with the county.
Coyne, 52, appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Patricia A. Gaughan and could get between three and half years or just over four years in prison.
In court today, he admitted accepting thousands of dollars in bribes from David Terry, a Hinckley real estate developer.
Terry, 70, already pleaded guilty to charges that he bribed Public Official 17 -- someone matching Coyne's description -- in order to "influence and reward" the official for various dealings in 2007.
Terry said he bribed Coyne in exchange for his past and future political influence and that Coyne had helped Terry's relatives get jobs with the county.
Coyne also worked for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason's office from 1999 until 2007, when he got a job at the then-Cuyahoga County Coroner's office (now the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's office.)
Then-Coroner Frank Miller fired Coyne in October, 2010, after learning that Coyne was involved with bribery.