PONTIAC (WWJ/AP) – Ex-Pontiac Fire Chief Jeffrey Hawkins has been convicted of bribery for taking payment in exchange for ignoring code violations at a bar.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced Thursday that an Oakland County Circuit Court jury convicted the 48-year-old of one count of accepting a bribe as a public officer, but deadlocked on a second count.
Hawkins is due back in court on June 5, when he could be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine, plus disqualification from public office for life.
Schuette said Hawkins solicited a $1,000 bribe in exchange for not citing Little David’s Island Bar for building fire code violations and other city code violations that existed at the time. He subsequently accepted a $500 cash payment from an undercover FBI investigator in April 2010, according to Schuette.
“Public safety officials who accept bribes and ignore their duty to protect the public are doubly dangerous,” Schuette said in a statement. “To restore public integrity and protect public safety, this dangerous corruption must come to an end. We will hold corrupt officials accountable, wherever they are found. The message is clear. If you break the law, there are consequences.”
Hawkins retired in 2010 after 22 years with the fire department, including 11 as chief.
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