FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2005
TDD (202) 514-1888
OHIO MAN PLEADS GUILTY IN WIDE-RANGING PUBLIC CORRUPTION
AND FRAUD SCHEME
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Assistant Attorney General Christopher A. Wray of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Gregory A. White of the Northern District of Ohio and U.S. Attorney Michael T. Shelby of the Southern District of Texas announced today that a Medina, Ohio man has pleaded guilty to a racketeering influenced and corrupt organization (RICO) charge in connection with a wide-ranging public corruption and fraud scheme.
Brent Jividen, 42, entered a guilty plea this morning at federal court in Akron, Ohio to a RICO charge, in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 1962(d), by conspiring to interfere with commerce through extortion under color of official right, and to commit honest wire services and mail fraud. The RICO charge is the lead count of a 45-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in which Jividen and others are charged.
As part of his plea agreement, Jividen has agreed to cooperate with the government in the prosecution of this case and other matters. Also charged in the case are Cleveland businessman Nate Gray; former Director of the Building Services Department for the City of Houston, Monique McGilbra; New Orleans businessman Gilbert Jackson; Cleveland City Councilman Joseph Jones; and Cleveland attorney Richardo Teamor.
According to the indictment, while employed as a salesman by an international corporation with offices in Cleveland and elsewhere that specializes in providing energy efficient services, Jividen, along with Nate Gray and Gilbert Jackson, conspired to engage in a scheme to bribe Monique McGilbra in order to obtain a contract to provide energy services to the City of Houston on behalf of the corporation. The indictment describes Gray as a local businessman who specializes in obtaining government contracts nationwide on both his own behalf and on behalf of his clients. The indictment describes Jackson as a businessman who was employed by a national design, engineering and consulting firm and who also conducted an independent business as a consultant through which he worked with co-defendants Gray and Jividen.
As charged in the indictment, Oliver Spellman - who worked for the City of Houston at the time as chief of staff to the Mayor of Houston - along with Gray, introduced Jividen to McGilbra, who was responsible for selecting the vendors to provide energy services to the City of Houston. In December 2004, Spellman entered a plea of guilty to accepting bribes from Gray, while employed by the City of Houston, for helping Gray obtain favorable consideration with respect to a contract relating to a shuttle service at Houston Intercontinental (Bush) Airport.
In furtherance of the conspiracy, the indictment alleges that in October 2001, Jividen authorized the corporation and Gray to spend approximately $1,500 for McGilbra on a weekend in Cleveland, Ohio along with her boyfriend, both of whom traveled across state lines to reach Cleveland. The benefits included a night at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, other amenities, and tickets to
a Cleveland Browns football game. Jividen intended to enlist McGilbra’s assistance in having the corporation named as a subcontractor on the City of Houston energy services contract. As further charged in the indictment, in February 2002, Jividen also agreed with Gray to spend approximately $4,500 for McGilbra and her boyfriend to attend the Super Bowl in New Orleans. Jackson allegedly acted as their host.
Jividen faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benita Y. Pearson and Steven M. Dettlebach in Cleveland, Ohio, and Mary K. Butler of the Public Integrity Section in Washington, D.C., which is headed by Section Chief Noel Hillman. Assistance in the prosecution is also being provided by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward F. Gallagher of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.