CLEVELAND, Ohio — The owner of a Tremont dive-bar pleaded guilty Monday to a felony bribery charge that accused him of trying to pay off a police officer so he could run his bar after-hours.

Andrew Long, who owns and operates The Duck Island Club on Freeman Avenue, faces anywhere from probation to a maximum of three years in prison.

Long, 45, pleaded guilty to the one-count indictment on what would have been the first day of his trial in a makeshift courtroom set up in the Global Center for Health Innovation. The court is holding some proceedings there during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Prosecutors refused to offer him a plea bargain that would have let him plead to a lesser charge.

Common Pleas Court Judge David Matia will sentence Long at a later date.

The charges stem from two conversations Long had with Cleveland police officer Timothy Maffo-Judd in January 2019, according to court records.

Long sought to hire Maffo-Judd to work off-duty as a security guard at the bar, court records say. The department’s vice unit cited Long twice in 2017 and once in 2018 for serving alcohol after 2 a.m., when state law at the time ordered bars to stop serving, according to court records.

Long mentioned his previous citations in both conversations with Maffo-Judd, including one recorded as part of an undercover operation. He said that he hoped his hiring of Maffo-Judd would get the vice unit off his back, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor James Gutierrez said in court Monday.

Long previously told that the situation was a misunderstanding between him and Maffo-Judd.

“I wasn’t trying to do anything illegal,” Long said. “I was just trying to build a good relationship with the Cleveland police.”

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