Two former Forsyth city councilmen pleaded guilty to corruption charges Tuesday in federal court.
James Edward Calloway and Desi Surtaine Hansford pleaded guilty to one count each of accepting bribes during the performance of their official duties.
Each man faces a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing is not expected for another two months, after federal authorities complete a background report on each man.
“The oath of public office is a sacred thing, and those who choose to seek public office should know that they must not betray the public’s trust,” U.S. Attorney Michael Moore said in a news release. “Bribes have no place in government contracting, and my office will use our resources to ensure that a few instances of corruption are not allowed to erode the public’s ability to trust the representatives they elect.”
Attempts to reach Calloway and Hansford were not successful.
Calloway, who was on the council for 22 years, and Hansford, a member for five years, both served on the city’s Utilities Committee, which oversees Forsyth’s electric, water, sewer and telecommunications services.
Calloway solicited a $20,000 bribe Dec. 27, 2012, from a water and waste treatment company to guarantee the company a city contract, according to Moore’s office.
The company notified the FBI immediately, telling the bureau about the solicitation. During their investigation, officials learned that much of Calloway’s motive was to help Hansford save his home from foreclosure.