Kickback Scheme Penalty: Officials Ordered to Cut Weeds
ALTON, Ill. (AP) _ An East St. Louis alderman and a former colleague were sentenced Friday to cut weeds, mop floors and do other ″common, ordinary labor″ in public places as a penalty for accepting payoffs to award city contracts.
″I want to let other public officials know they can’t sell out the people,″ U.S. District Judge William L. Beatty said in sentencing Julius ″Mickey″ Walker, a 3rd ward alderman, and Alfred Byrd, a former 7th ward alderman.
Beatty also fined Walker and Byrd $2,000 each.
He ordered them to work six months, full time, without pay, for the East St. Louis Housing Authority at ″common, ordinary labor″ - mopping floors, picking up bottles and cans in the street and doing other jobs in public places.
″I hope they find weeds for you to cut,″ said Beatty. ″I don’t want the people to forget.″
The judge also told Walker he must resign and placed both defendants on five years’ probation, with the stipulation that they hold no public office during that time.
Byrd and Walker pleaded guilty last month to charges of accepting kickbacks from contractor Robert Jacox of Edwardsville in return for awarding him contracts for weed-cutting and demolition services in their wards.
Byrd accepted $754 and Walker $500.
″The amount of money is small, but I consider it a serious offense,″ Beatty said. ″For a few dollars you sold the trust of the people in your ward.″
Jacox was sentenced to four years in prison Aug. 1 in a kickback scheme involving the East St. Louis Housing Authority.
A. Wendell Wheadon, former director of the housing authority, was sentenced to seven years in prison last year in the scheme. The office of U.S. Housing and Urban Development has taken over operation of the authority.