A Pass Christian contractor has agreed to plead guilty to a federal conspiracy charge related to bribes prosecutors say he gave to two leaders of a Harrison County utility authority.
Criminal charges against Sean H. Anthony were filed Monday in federal court in Gulfport. His lawyer, Joe Sam Owen, says Anthony plans to plead guilty.
A hearing before a federal magistrate judge is set for March 3. At that time, Anthony will accept being charged without indictment. He will plead guilty probably later the same day, Owen said.
The indictment says Anthony bribed the executive director of the Harrison County Utility Authority and one of the members of the board, but does not name the targets of his bribery.
Former Harrison County Utility Authority Executive Director Kamran Pahlavan pleaded not guilty Dec. 16 in federal court in Gulfport to a five-count indictment that he took bribes from Anthony. He remains free on bond. The indictment claims Pahlavan took automobiles, New Orleans Saints tickets, home repairs and use of a beach condominium in exchange for steering business to S.H. Anthony. Pahlavan faces up to 60 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines on the five felony counts — one each of conspiracy, bribery, honest services wire fraud, obstruction of justice and false statements.
Former Harrison County Supervisor Kim Savant pleaded guilty Dec. 16 in federal court in Gulfport to a conspiracy charge related to taking as much as $36,000 in cash bribes from Anthony while Savant was one of seven authority board members. Savant is set to be sentenced March 26, and faces five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.
Monday’s charge focuses on Anthony’s actions to gain and keep a contract to operate the authority’s sewer system. But the authority also spent large amounts of federal aid following 2005′s Hurricane Katrina to rebuild and expand its system. An Associated Press investigation found it took private property and spent recovery money to build sewage plants that may not be needed for decades. More than $230 million in federal money was set aside for water and sewer projects in Harrison County, the most populous on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Anthony’s company, S.H. Anthony Inc., worked on a variety of construction jobs following 2005′s Hurricane Katrina. It auctioned its equipment in a December sale.