New Orleans Pol Admits Taking Bribes

Councilman collected $20K for contract in city plagued by problems
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2007 2:39 AM CDT
New Orleans Pol Admits Taking Bribes
Attorney Clarence Roby Jr., wipes his eyes after New Orleans City Council member Oliver Thomas spoke at a press conference and announced his resignation in New Orleans Monday, Aug. 13, 2007. Thomas pled guilty to one count of federal felony bribery. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)   (Associated Press)

As if New Orleans didn't have enough to contend with, a city councilman yesterday pleaded guilty to accepting $20,000 in bribes and resigned. Oliver Thomas confessed he collected the money from a restaurateur seeking to keep a lucrative city contract. He also demanded the businessman hire a friend of his, who paid further kickbacks to Thomas.

The judge called the crime a "body blow" to a city "already reeling under a wave of public corruption." An FBI agent remarked that while corrupt politicians in the north tend to "skim the cream, in Louisiana, they skim the cream, they steal the milk, hijack the bottles and look for the cow." Thomas faces up to 10 years in jail. (More New Orleans stories.)

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