Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Maybe there's something in the air these days with all the corruption cases flowing out of the U.S. Attorney's Offices (e.g., Philadelphia, Hoboken NJ, Connecticut). The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas (Houston) announced the guilty plea of Monique McGilbra, a former Director of Building Services for the city of Houston, to charges that involve corruption not only in Houston, but also touching Inglewood, CA, and Cleveland. According to the press release (here):
McGilbra admitted to accepting bribes and gifts for favorable treatment on City of Houston contracts. Some of the bribes were paid to Garland Hardeman, a former Inglewood, California, City Councilman and businessman, who pleaded guilty to an unrelated public corruption bribery scheme in California. McGilbra introduced Hardeman to representatives of a Houston-based development company doing business with the City's Building Services Department. The development company sought contracts with the City using Hardeman and McGilbra to influence the award of contracts, including the 911 Superstation project. McGilbra accepted and agreed to accept money from Hardeman for any contracts awarded by the City to the development company. McGilbra also admitted to accepting gifts from representatives of the development company including numerous meals in restaurants, the use of a condominium in Northern California for a ski vacation for her and her family, payment of expenses for a trip to San Antonio, tickets to professional football games, and a gift certificate from Neiman Marcus.
McGilbra also admitted to accepting gifts and benefits for favorable treatment on City of Houston contracts from an Atlanta-based contractor who obtained an energy-related subcontract to change-out the traffic signals in the City. McGilbra accepted gifts from the contractor and representatives of an energy company, including $6,000 in cash, sporting event tickets, a pair of earrings, a gift certificate to Luis Vuitton, trip related expenses to Miami and New Orleans, and tickets to the Lion King production.
McGilbra is also tied into a broad corruption case in the Northern District of Ohio:
McGilbra is one of nine defendants charged in Cleveland, Ohio, with corruption and racketeering violations last February. McGilbra pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy and extortion under color of official right in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 6, 2005, and faces a maximum punishment of 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for those convictions. A sentencing date has not yet been set in that case. In addition to McGilbra, Brent Jividen, a Cleveland businessman, has pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy; and Ricardo Teamor, a Cleveland lawyer, has pled guilty to extortion conspiracy.
Oliver Spellman, the former Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Houston, pleaded guilty last December on separate Cleveland charges for accepting bribes from Nate Gray relating to a contract Gray was seeking with the City of Houston for a shuttle service at Houston Intercontinental (Bush) Airport. Spellman admitted that he introduced Cleveland businessman Brent Jividen to McGilbra regarding the selection of vendors to provide energy services to the City of Houston.
Also charged and pending trial in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 23, 2005, are Nate Gray, a Cleveland businessman, Gilbert Jackson, a New Orleans businessman, and Joseph Jones, a Cleveland City Councilman.
Did McGilbra and the others do any work in their spare time? (ph)