Tags: Ex-Mayor | 'Guilty | Victim'

Ex-Mayor 'Guilty as Victim'

Wednesday, 22 November 2000 12:00 AM

According to the Houston Chronicle:

Fred Hofheinz, once the mayor of Houston, who originally faced felony charges that he paid bribes to win a state contract, now gets out of his predicament by paying a $5,000 fine and serving a one-year probation sentence.

"The dismissal [of the bribery charges] vindicates me," Hofheinz said, "What I'm guilty of is being a victim. I didn't know there's a federal law against that."

Last year, Hofheinz and a rancher named Cecil Brown had been charged with conspiracy and bribery in a deal to build a private prison in Jena, La.

Prosecutors charged that Hofheinz had given Brown payoffs on behalf of former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards, who was an unnamed and unindicted co-conspirator.

As part of that deal, the prosecution alleged, Edwards was supposed to have used his influence to see that Hofheinz's Viewpoint Development got the contract.

Hofheinz contended neither Brown nor Edwards had asked him for money or mentioned receiving a payoff from Viewpoint Development.

The ex-mayor said his company had invested $1.5 million in the Jena project when two brothers, Patrick and Michael Graham, whom he now refers to as crooks, told him that Brown threatened to block the project unless he agreed to pay him a $1.3 million consulting fee once the contract was obtained and funded.

Hofheinz said the reason he had not reported an attempted bribery was that he hoped to protect his initial investment by negotiating any fees to Brown later.

In a letter to federal District Judge Frank Polozola in Baton Rouge, La., the prosecutor wrote that "Hofheinz has been forthright and, I believe, candid and honest in his cooperation. He answered all our questions and held back nothing."

Under the plea bargain accepted Tuesday by the judge, Hofheinz agreed to be a government witness in Brown's upcoming trial.

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According to the Houston Chronicle: Fred Hofheinz, once the mayor of Houston, who originally faced felony charges that he paid bribes to win a state contract, now gets out of his predicament by paying a $5,000 fine and serving a one-year probation sentence. The dismissal...
Ex-Mayor,'Guilty,Victim'
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2000-00-22
Wednesday, 22 November 2000 12:00 AM
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