In Cleveland Federal Court, a former Cleveland City Councilwoman indicted for conspiracy to commit bribery.
Sabra Pierce Scott resigned from her council seat in 2009.
Federal officials say from April 2005 to March 2006, Scott demanded and accepted bribes from an electrical and technology company in Bedford Heights.
The company then got Scott's support for a development project.
Also, in August of 2006, the company hired Scott's son and in March of 2007, gave Scott about two-thousand dollars in cash, which she used to pay her daughters tuition.
Below is a copy of the indictment.
At all times material to this Information:
1. Defendant Sabra Pierce Scott was a member of the Cleveland City Council, an elected position.
2. The legislative powers of the City of Cleveland were vested in the Cleveland City Council.
3. Business Executive or Employee 10 ("BE 10") was the president of Business 14 and the executive leading Business 42.
4. Business 14 was an electrical and technology contracting company located in Bedford Heights, Ohio.
5. Business 42 was engaged in a development project in the City of Cleveland valued at approximately $120 million in 2006.
6. The City of Cleveland was a government agency as that term is defined in Title 18, United States Code, Section 666(d)(2). The City received benefits in excess of $10,000 during the years April 1, 2005 through March 31, 2006, and April 1, 2006 through March 31, 2007, under a Federal program involving a grant, contract, subsidy, loan, guarantee, insurance and other form of Federal assistance.
7. From on or about April 7, 2005 and continuing through on or about March 12, 2007, the exact dates being unknown to the United States Attorney, in the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division and elsewhere, Defendant SABRA PIERCE SCOTT, and BE 10 (not charged herein), and others known and unknown to the United States Attorney, did knowingly and intentionally combine, conspire, confederate and agree with each other to commit an offense against the United States, that is, bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 666(a)(l)(B) and (a)(2).
OBJECTS OF THE CONSPIRACY
8. It was an object of the conspiracy that Defendant corruptly solicited, demanded and accepted things of value for the benefit of any person from BE 10, Defendant and BE 10 acting with the intent that Defendant be influenced and rewarded in connection with any business, transaction and series of transactions of the City of Cleveland valued at $5,000 or more in each of the years April 1, 2005 through March 31, 2006, and April 1, 2006 through March 31, 2007; that is, Cleveland City Council legislation and the City of Cleveland's promotion of Business 42's development project, both as requested and as future opportunities arose. The things of value included approximately $2,000 in cash, which Defendant used to pay her daughter's tuition, and a job for Defendant's son at Business 14.
9. It was a further object of the conspiracy that BE10 corruptly gave, offered and agreed to give to Defendant the above-referenced things of value, acting with the intent to influence and reward Defendant in connection with the business, transaction and series of transactions alleged above.
MANNER AND MEANS
10. It was part of the conspiracy that Defendant used her position as a member of Cleveland City Council to solicit and accept things of value from BE 10, knowing that BE 10 wanted Defendant's support for Business 42's development project in the City of Cleveland.
11. It was a further part of the conspiracy that Defendant supported Business 42' s development project by, among other things, (1) meeting with BE10 and his colleagues, (2) meeting with property owners in the area to discuss the benefits of the development project, (3) guiding legislation in support of the project through Cleveland City Council Committees, (4) enlisting support for the project with her fellow Council members, (5) supporting the project at public meetings, and in the community whenever possible and (6) otherwise assisting BE 10 obtain funding for the project.
12. In furtherance of the conspiracy, and to effect the objects thereof, Defendant and BE 10 and others committed the following overt acts in the Northern District of Ohio and elsewhere:
A. In or around July 2005, BE 10 and Defendant had a conversation in which BE 10 told Defendant he was looking for minority employees to work on a project Business 14 had been contracted to perform. Defendant asked BE 10 to hire her son. BE 10 agreed.
B. On or about August 17, 2005, Defendant sponsored legislation in the Cleveland City Council for an ordinance to sell land owned by the City of Cleveland for use in Business 42's development project.
C. In or around August 2005, Defendant and BE10 had a conversation in which Defendant asked BE 10 if her son could work in Business 14's office due to a non work related injury that would make it difficult for her son to work on the project for which BE 10 had hired him. BE 10 agreed.
D. On or about November 20, 2006, BE10 placed three calls to Defendant.
E. On or about November 20, 2006, BE10 and Pierce Scott attended meeting of the Committee on Finance of the Cleveland City Council to promote the development project. A the meeting, a colleague of Pierce Scott questioned the level of minority participation on the development project. Pierce Scott responded by stating to her colleague, "[h]ow dare you use your own approach to question a project in my ward without having a discussion with me first. You are out of line. And you will not continue to come to this table and get in other people's ward business. I do not appreciate it and if you've got a problem with this project you should have said something to me. You have no right to sit here and question them. You don't understand what it takes to get this done. And you're wrong. I don't appreciate it. And you're not going to sit here and build a reputation off of me. I don't mess with your projects and don't you mess with mine."
F. On or about November 22, 2006, Defendant co-sponsored legislation in the Cleveland City Council for an ordinance authorizing real estate conveyances for the purpose of entering into the chain-of-title prior to the adoption of tax increment financing legislation and authorizing an agreement between the City of Cleveland and Business 42, all for the benefit of Business 42's development project.
G. On or about November 29, 2006, BE10 called Defendant once and Defendant called BE 10 twice.
H.. On or about November 29, 2006, Defendant co-sponsored legislation in the Cleveland City Council for an ordinance providing, among other things, for approval of a Tax Increment Financing Agreement for the benefit of Business 42' s development project.
I. On or about March 12, 2007, Defendant asked BE10 for approximately $2,000.
J. Later in the day, on or about March 12, 2007, BE 10 gave Defendant an envelope containing approximately $2,000 in cash which Defendant used to pay her daughter's tuition.
K. From on or about June 7, 2007 to on or about June 12, 2007, BE10 called Defendant seven times and Defendant called BE 10 six times.
L. On or about June 20, 2007, Defendant co-sponsored additional legislation in the Cleveland City Council for an ordinance providing, among other things, for approval of a Tax Increment Financing Agreement for the benefit of Business 42's development project.
M. On or about November 6,2007, Defendant attended a Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority meeting and spoke in support of financing for BE 10' s development project.
All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.
Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General of the United States
Barbara L. McQuade
United States Attorney
Eastern District of Michigan
Sharon L. Long
Deputy Chief, Criminal Division