Fred Hofheinz, who served as Houston mayor from 1974 to 1977, was indicted Monday on charges 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.
A federal grand jury indicted Hofheinz, 61, along with businessmen Cecil Brown and Guy Thompson, on bribery, conspiracy and extortion charges as a result of a long-running investigation of former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards’ administration.
The jury said Brown, a longtime Edwards associate, demanded and received bribes from Hofheinz over three projects Hofheinz was planning in Louisiana in the mid-1990s. None of the projects materialized.
In addition to the prison and basketball plans, Hofheinz allegedly was connected to Evergreen Global Resources, a Thompson company that was seeking a contract to convert New Orleans garbage into usable products.
Edwards, who is under indictment as a result of the probe, was not named in Monday’s indictment.
Hofheinz and Brown could get up to five years on the conspiracy count and on each of three bribery counts if convicted. Brown also could get up to 20 years on each of four extortion counts. Thompson could face 2 1/2 years.
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.