Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Former county judge pleads guilty to bribery on disaster relief contract

Posted By on Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 1:35 PM

James Hesterly, a former Ouachita County judge, pleaded guilty in El Dorado today to one count of bribery for rigging bidding on a federal disaster relief cleanup project in return for a 2010 campaign contribution.

Hesterly, 50, of Camden, was indicted along with Harry Clemons Jr., 39, of Bearden, owner of a construction company, in January 2013. 

The U.S. attorney's office said in a news release:
.
According to documents filed in court, beginning in March 2010, Hesterly proposed awarding Clemons a FEMA funded contract clean up storm debris in Ouachita County without competitive bidding in exchange for a payment to Hesterly for his reelection campaign. The debris was the product of two tornados that struck the county in October of 2009. In furtherance of this conspiracy, Clemons arranged for two other bidders to submit intentionally inflated bids to Hesterly through fax. Clemons then met with Hesterly at his office and submitted a bid on behalf of himself and another company for the contract in the amount of $120,730, a total amount below the inflated bids. Hesterly accepted Clemons’s bid, and, on April 8, 2010, applied for federal funds from FEMA to help Ouachita County pay for the contract. Hesterly represented to FEMA that Clemons was the lowest bidder among the three bids that he had received. After FEMA approved and obligated the request, Hesterly requested that the contract price be increased by $4,000 representing that the increase was necessary to cover increased costs to Clemons for disposing of the debri. FEMA also approved that request, but the $4,000 was ultimately paid to Hesterly by Clemons as bribe money solicited by Hesterly for awarding the contract to Clemons. 

Federal regulations required advertising for bids for 10 days and sealed bids. The job was advertised for one day and no sealed bids were submitted.

Hesterly will be sentenced later. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years, but is unlikely to be that in this case. Clemons pleaded guilty in March and is awaiting sentencing.

Tags: , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be deputy White House press secretary

    Donald Trump announced additional White House staff today, notably including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation