McGilbra pleads guilty to federal charges
Another official from the administration of former mayor Lee Brown has pleaded guilty to wrongdoing while in office:
Former city of Houston administrator Monique McGilbra pleaded guilty Friday to federal charges stemming from a multistate investigation into bribery of public officials.
McGilbra, 41, the former director of Houston's Building Services Department, entered a plea agreement in Cleveland, Ohio, to federal charges of conspiracy and extortion. Under the same agreement, McGilbra will plead guilty next week in federal court in Houston to "a conspiracy to deprive the city of Houston and its citizens of honest services."
The charges against McGilbra involve allegations that she accepted a lavish, $4,500 trip with her then-boyfriend to the 2002 Super Bowl, a $700 Louis Vuitton purse, a $1,000 dinner in Miami Beach, Fla., and other favors in exchange for helping Cleveland businessmen land an energy-services contract with the city of Houston. McGilbra also admitted she accepted a $1,000 weekend of entertainment in Cleveland.
Cleveland businessman Gilbert Jackson pleaded guilty to conspiracy and fraud charges in January. Another Cleveland businessman, Nate Gray, is scheduled to stand trial on federal charges later this month.
Oliver Spellman, who was a chief of staff to former Houston Mayor Lee Brown, entered a guilty plea to charges of accepting bribes in December. That case involved the contract for shuttle service at Bush Intercontinental Airport.
As part of McGilbra's plea deal, she has agreed to cooperate with federal investigators and prosecutors in the case.
That cooperation could well reveal all sorts of interesting relationships among this city's power brokers and its former political leaders. Stay tuned.