A seven-woman, five-man jury found former Hillsborough County commissioner Kevin White guilty of seven out of 10 federal charges in his public corruption trial this week. The trial took eight days and the jury deliberated for approximately six hours before returning its verdict.
White was accused of taking bribes to help wrecker companies get a spot on a law enforcement towing rotation while he was a county commissioner. He chaired the Public Transportation Commission, a public board that regulates wreckers, taxis and other vehicles for hire.
The federal investigation began in the fall of 2009 after a towing company owner, Pete Rockefeller, was removed from the towing rotation in a move he felt was unfair. He volunteered to help FBI agents investigate the alleged corruption in the transportation commission.
Rockefeller was wired and recorded conversations with White, his father Gerald White and another towing company owner.
All three men were ultimately charged in the alleged bribery scheme. During trial, jurors were presented with 165 audio and video recordings, including one video which reportedly showed White accepting $5,000 from an undercover federal agent while sitting in the agent’s car.
White was found guilty of conspiracy to commit bribery; two counts of bribery; conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud; two counts of wire fraud and giving false statements to a federal agent.
He was found not guilty of two additional counts of bribery and one count of mail fraud. The not guilty verdicts on bribery related to money that was given to Gerald White. The government apparently failed to convince jurors that the money was passed on to Kevin White.
The government ultimately accused Kevin White of taking $8,000 in bribes. Local media reports that payments made by the government to the cooperating informant Rockefeller totaled $74,000.
Each of the seven counts carries a maximum sentence of five to 15 years.