PONTIAC, Mich. - Everett Seay is an icon in Pontiac politics. He was elected six times to Pontiac City Council.
He was trusted by those who voted him into office. Seay obliterated that trust when he took bribes and drove into the Oakland County Airport with a large load of what he thought was cocaine and loaded it up on an airplane.
The drug lords he thought he was working for were really undercover agents running a sting operation.
According to court documents, beginning in May 2008, Seay met repeatedly with "J.B.," a person who purported to be a drug dealer from Chicago, who was seeking the assistance of members of the Pontiac City Council to obtain a "regulated use" ordinance to open a business to buy and sell gold for the purpose of laundering drug proceeds. Unknown to Seay, J.B. was actually an FBI agent acting in an undercover capacity.
During several meetings, Seay solicited and accepted bribe payments from J.B. for his assistance in getting the ordinance passed. Between July and December 2008, Seay received $10,800 in bribe payments from J.B.
Seay says he is sorry.
"I'm on the road to redemption as far as service -- I've had 40 years of service. I'm terribly sorry and regret it," Seay said.
Seay admits to the crime and is paying a big price . On Wednesday he was sentenced to two years and 2 months in federal prison and was also ordered to forfeit $10,800 to the United States. The sentence was imposed by in U.S. District Judge Bernard A. Friedman.
Seay says with the support of his family he will survive this.
"That's what it's all about: family and friends and your community. Justice was served," he said.
Those who live and work in Pontiac applaud the efforts by federal investigators to go after public corruption. They see crime rates inching down and property values inching up. Investors are also purchasing downtown businesses now that bribes are no longer part of the equation .
Seay, who is headed to prison, says he supports the crackdown on public corruption and hopes for the best for the city of Pontiac.
"Give the fate of my city right now, they need leaders that are concerned about their fate, and protect them," he said.
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