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Fixer-Uppers Often Trip Up Politicians

POSTED: 03:40 PM ET, 07/29/2008 by Derek Kravitz

Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens is only the latest political figure to land in a public corruption scandal because of alleged gifts and favors for home improvement projects.

A few of the more notable examples:

-- Former Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland, once one of the Republican Party's brightest and fastest-rising stars, was sentenced to a year and a day in prison in March 2005 after admitting that he sold his influence for more than $100,000 in improvements at his lakeside cottage, among other gifts. He had resigned the previous summer amid a gathering drive to impeach him.

After serving 10 months in prison, Rowland -- dubbed "Johnny R" by President Bush -- told The Post's Michael Leahy that he has traveled to Rhode Island to lecture high school athletes about the importance of ethics, and to North Carolina to speak to the John Locke Foundation about his own failings and what he calls the "culture of arrogance."

(Related Post: Roots of the Stevens Investigation)

-- Bernard B. Kerik, New York's former police commissioner, was indicted in November, accused of accepting payments from a New Jersey company eager to shed its mob reputation to win lucrative contracts with the city.

Kerik was a former aide to ex-New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and a one-time nominee to be head of the Department of Homeland Security.

Interstate Industrial Corp. of New Jersey was under investigation by four government agencies for alleged ties to organized crime when it spent more than $250,000 on marble bathrooms, a whirlpool tub and a grand marble rotunda in Kerik's Bronx apartment.

-- Former Atlanta Mayor William C. Campbell, who served two terms as mayor from 1994 to 2002, was indicted in 2004 after being snared in a federal corruption investigation that has led to the convictions of 10 other former city officials and contractors.

Federal prosecutors charged that Campbell ran the biggest city in the South with a "What's in it for me?" attitude and took more than $160,000 in home improvements, among other things, in exchange for city contracts.

In March 2006, he was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to 30 months in prison.

-- Other politicians tangled in trouble for home fix-ups include former Maryland state Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell, once a powerful figure in Annapolis who, prosecutors say, received free or discounted improvements to his Baltimore home worth $85,000; Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.), the congressman sentenced to more than eight years in prison in 2006, who had a businessman buy his boat and help finance his new home; and former D.C. mayor and current councilman Marion Barry, who was accused of giving a favorable contract to a Washington businessman who helped renovate the then-mayor's home. Barry was never charged in that matter.

By Derek Kravitz |  July 29, 2008; 3:40 PM ET Stevens Trial
Previous: Alaska Senator Indicted After Yearlong Probe | Next: Roots of the Stevens Investigation

Comments

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Hey while we discuss political housing.... let's not forget Obama, Dodd, Biden, getting sweetheart mortgages or under the table paybacks on purchases; Rangel allocating himself four rent controlled apartments, Wexler not living in his district, and Hillary removing anything not nailed down from the Whitehouse.

Posted by: Nancy | July 29, 2008 8:01 PM

my question about the senator from alaska, and all the others, is why? You guys are rich. You're stinking rich. A heck of a lot richer than 98 percent of the rest of the country. You have totally paid for medical insurance, you never, ever have to pump your own gas, pay your own bills or wash your own laundry.

You are rich. no two ways about it.

And yet you, all of you, D and R alike, sell out for petty change. A hundred thou on the house? Less than a week's interest on the investments. A free airplane ride? A cheap mortgage? Picket change. Amounts so small that if you saw them on the street it would not be worth your while to bend over and pick them up.

And yet you take them, all of you.

Why?

Posted by: charlie | July 29, 2008 10:17 PM

Nacy apperently doesn't read the whole article. Obama's mortgage was not a sweetheart deal. Let's see half the people in the US get a better than average rate, God how math stnadards have fallen in the US. He had more than the total mortgage amount on deposit with the financial institution that gave him the loan, the loan was for propoerty in Georgetown not Chicago. Wake up folks think for yourselves and don't believe the radio talking heads.

Posted by: JJ | July 29, 2008 11:55 PM

When convicted fraudster Tony Rezko paid a premium for the half of the land on which Senator Obama's southside Chicago mansion stands and which Obama could not otherwise afford, substantial income accrued to the Obamas. Did they report and pay taxes on that income?

Posted by: Reformthesystem | July 30, 2008 6:57 PM

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