Former Houston mayor Fred Hofheinz was indicted today on charges that he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to advance ventures such as building a juvenile prison and bringing a pro basketball team to New Orleans.
Hofheinz, 61, was indicted along with two businessmen on bribery, conspiracy and extortion charges as a result of a long-running investigation of former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards's administration.
The federal grand jury said one of the indicted businessmen, longtime Edwards associate Cecil Brown, demanded and received bribes from Hofheinz over three projects Hofheinz was planning in Louisiana during the mid-1990s, while Edwards was in office.
None of the projects materialized.
In addition to the prison and basketball plans, Hofheinz allegedly was connected to Evergreen Global Resources, a company that was seeking a contract to convert New Orleans garbage into usable products.
The company was owned by Guy Thompson, the other man indicted.
Hofheinz served as mayor from 1974 to 1977 and has been practicing law in Houston ever since, though he made a failed comeback bid for mayor in 1989. His father, the late Roy Hofheinz, served as mayor in the 1950s and later was largely credited with getting the Astrodome built.
Fred Hofheinz was expecting the indictments and told the Houston Chronicle on Sunday that the allegations are untrue.