Skip to comments.Ex-city official pleads guilty to bribery(chief of staff for ex-Houston mayor Lee Brown(D))
Posted on 12/14/2004 8:18:40 PM PST by Diddle E. Squat
CLEVELAND -- Former Houston and Harris County official Oliver Spellman pleaded guilty today to bribery charges filed just last week, saying he accepted $2,000 to influence government contracts while serving as chief of staff to former Mayor Lee Brown.
"I took money from an individual in return for favor in winning government contracts," Spellman told U.S. District Judge James Gwin of Cleveland.
He said he took the bribe in July 2002. Although neither he nor the criminal information document filed last week named the person who paid the bribe, other court documents indicate it was well-connected Cleveland businessman Nate Gray.
Gray has not been charged.
The criminal information said Spellman -- not Gray, as incorrectly reported earlier -- took money to influence contracts for a shuttle service at Intercontinental Airport and city energy services. City officials say the contracts in question were subcontracts not awarded directly by the city.
Prosecutors said the plea agreement is contingent upon Spellman's cooperation with a multistate corruption investigation that already has resulted in criminal charges against a Cleveland city councilman and conviction of a suburban mayor.
Gwin set a $25,000 unsecured bond. It was not immediately clear if Spellman, who now lives in New York, would be released today.
He faces eight to 14 months in prison on the single count of bribery conspiracy filed Dec. 7.
His lawyer, Zinetta Burney of Houston, refused to comment after the surprise development.
Before becoming Brown's chief of staff, Spellman served four years as Houston parks director, after serving in the same capacity in Cleveland.
He resigned from the Brown administration in October 2002, and went to work early the following year as a deputy to newly elected Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia. He resigned from that job Dec. 3.
Brown is moving up in the party.
Lee Brown! Glad they got rid of that guy, couldn't stand him. Of course, there's probably no difference with the new guy...he's another DIMOCRAT.
Bump to a few others .....
Wasn't Sylvia Garcia the Houston Comptroller during Brown's Administration, when this was going on? Doesn't the City Comptroller have the fiduciary responsibility for overseeing city contracts?
Inquiring minds might want to ask Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia some pointed questions.
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