Updated Jan 20, 2022 - News

Bobby Henon resigns from Philly City Council month before sentencing

Philadelphia City Council member Bobby Henon walks to the federal courthouse in Philadelphia to face charges in his corruption trial, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Philadelphia City Councilmember Bobby Henon walks to the federal courthouse in Philadelphia to face charges in his corruption trial on Oct. 5, 2021. Photo: Matt Rourke/AP

Philadelphia City Councilmember Bobby Henon announced he's resigning Thursday, hours before the council's first legislative session of 2022.

Driving the news: Henon's resignation, effective Thursday morning, also comes ahead of his February sentencing for his conviction on federal corruption charges last year.

  • Henon was not legally required to resign until after the sentencing and had originally indicated he would wait until then.

Flashback: A jury found the three-term Democrat, who represents the 6th District in the Northeast, guilty of federal corruption-related crimes in November. He's facing 20 years in prison.

  • Federal prosecutors had accused Henon of allowing powerful labor leader John "Johnny Doc" Dougherty to bribe him for access and policy decisions in exchange for a more than $70,000 salary from the the Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union.
  • Henon stepped down from his committee chair roles soon after the ruling.

Of note: Dougherty was also found guilty on conspiracy charges and faces two more trials in the coming months over embezzlement and extortion charges.

What they're saying: "I am grateful to the residents of the 6th District for allowing me to serve as Councilman for the past 10 years," Henon said in his letter. "I worked hard each and every day to be an outspoken and bold advocate for the hardworking people of the 6th District, but I could not have done it without the support and engagement of community leaders and residents."

  • Henon denied requests for comment in his statement. Axios has attempted to contact Henon's team.

Mayor Jim Kenney called Henon a "consistent, strong advocate for the working families of Philadelphia" throughout his tenure, but still supported his departure.

  • "Given the circumstances, I believe Councilman Henon's resignation today is the right decision"

What to watch: Council President Darrell Clarke has yet to set a special election date to fill Henon's seat.

  • "I will take the appropriate steps authorized under the Home Rule Charter regarding this vacancy in Council in due course and in full accordance with city law," he said in a released statement.
  • Clarke added that the remaining 16 legislators "will not be distracted by this event" and will remain focused on addressing urgent issues confronting the city.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a statement from the mayor and clarify that Henon denied requests for comment in his letter.

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