A former Houston Community College trustee was sentenced to nearly six years in prison on Monday after a judge said he accepted more than a quarter million dollars in bribes in exchange for his influence over contract work with the college.
In the sentencing, U.S. District Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore asked Chris Oliver if his conduct was “standard procedure” for HCC trustees and asked if the college was a “cesspool.”
“The line is definitely blurred,” he said. “You don’t come from wealth. You’re in an elected position. Things are thrown at you.”
Gilmore said he served in his position for “too long” as his integrity eroded.
Oliver agreed and said he should not have sought re-election in 2011. “I probably should have called it a career.”
See here for the background. I’ll note that Oliver ran for City Council in 2015, so at least we dodged that bullet. Things may indeed be thrown at elected officials, but most of them manage to not get convicted of bribery charges. I’m just saying. HCC says it has implemented procedures and checks to prevent actions like Oliver’s in the future. I think it’s safe to say that remains to be seen.