Felony Charge Dropped in Sweetwater Corruption Case

Felony bribery charges against Henry Amigable dropped

By Brandi Powell and Lauren Steussy
|  Wednesday, Mar 21, 2012  |  Updated 5:03 PM PDT
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South Bay School Officials Accused of Corruption

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Felony charges against a construction company executive were dropped to a misdemeanor charge on Wednesday.

Henry Amigable pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor education code violation.

He and four other current and former Sweetwater officials were charged in January. Investigators said they influenced contractors and government officials with lavish meals, expensive wine and airline tickets.

The bribes aided in obtaining multi-billion dollar contracts for school construction.

"For years, public officials regularly accepted what amounted to bribes in exchange for their votes on multi-million dollar construction projects," said District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis in January. “This case is outrageous and shameful.”

Amigable’s charges were dropped in exchange for cooperating with the District Attorney’s office. He will serve a 6-month maximum sentence.

Amigable says he had no intent to bribe, and was just doing what his bosses said.

"I wanted to tell everybody that I wanted to cooperate with the law and take my punches, and if I did something wrong, which I apparently did in the education code,” Amigable said. “I wanted to stand up and say ok I did something wrong, I'll take my punishment and move on."

The attorney for former Sweetwater superintendent, Jesus Gandara, said they will be able to show receipts which indicate the school board did reimburse Amigable.

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