Ex controller employee pleads guilty to accepting bribes in exchange for city permits, contracts

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A former employee for the Philadelphia Office of the Controller admitted he took more than $20,000 in bribes from business owners seeking city permits and contracts. 

Jeffery Blackwell pleaded guilty to four of the 13 counts against him —  including honest services wire fraud — as part of a deal with federal authorities.

In addition, Blackwell pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return in 2012, where he falsely claimed travel expenses and a dependent. He also pleaded guilty to not filing any returns in 2013 and 2014. 

Blackwell worked for the city for more than a decade, up until July 2015. He was indicted by a grand jury in September 2019.

Blackwell is the step-grandson of former City Councilmember Jannie Blackwell.

“This case is one of a bad actor who abused his position and took advantage of the system for his own personal gain,” present Philadelphia City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart said in a statement. “But it is important to underscore that this case is not reflective of all city employees, most of whom are hardworking, do their job with integrity and want to make Philadelphia a better place.”

Jeffery Blackwell is set to be sentenced in December. He faces a maximum possible sentence of 24 years, though prosecutors plan to recommend a two-year sentence, in addition to fines.