A federal grand jury indicted two Forsyth city councilmen Tuesday on charges that they split $20,000 in bribe money.
Forsyth City Councilman Desi Hansford watched as another person counted bribe money inside a pickup truck Monday, before Hansford took $5,000 for himself and walked a few feet to put it in his own car, according to a federal affidavit. Thats when FBI agents nabbed him.
The U.S. Attorneys office in Macon said in a statement that Hansford and Councilman James Calloway were indicted Tuesday. The indictment itself was not available Tuesday, and the affidavit does not name Calloway. No recent court file on Calloway had been opened by late Tuesday afternoon, and it wasnt clear whether he had been taken into custody.
Calls to phone numbers associated with Hansford and Calloway were not answered Tuesday.
Federal prosecutors said Calloway has been a council member for more than 20 years, while Hansford has served six years. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for each of three counts.
The FBI was watching Monday morning as Hansford met a co-defendant in the parking lot of the Monroe County Youth Center to split the second half of a $20,000 bribe, according to the sworn statement by Special Agent Gregory McClendon.
Hansford reportedly waived his constitutional rights and admitted that hed taken another $5,000 bribe, according to the affidavit.
Hansford admitted to receiving the previous $5,000 bribe in January. (He) stated that he paid some bills with part of the money and over $2,000 of the original bribe money was located in his residence in Forsyth, McClendons affidavit reads.
The first $10,000 portion of the bribe was passed outside the Travel America truck stop restaurant in Jackson, the agents statement said. There, a company president whod wanted to renew his contract with the city recorded the discussion with Hansford and the co-defendant comparing contracts and the differences between services.
The affidavit said Hansfords co-defendant suggested that the company, which the FBI didnt name, reduce a bid by a certain amount to be competitive with another company, and allegedly said if he were given $20,000, he could guarantee Company A would have the needed votes to win the bid. The co-defendant mentioned there was a city councilman (Defendant Hansford) who needed some money.
The companys president and chief financial officer both cooperated with the federal investigation.
Hansford was ordered released on a $10,000 unsecured bond and ordered to stay within Georgia, federal files show.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.