That's not good. State Employee indicted for bribery, while the rest of them do their jobs.

Someone was joking to me yesterday that after I exit from my employment at the end of next week, I might do a blogpost on state employees I hate the most. Cute, but no thanks.

Almost without exception, I've known state employees to be exceptionally hard working, often under less than optimal conditions. I believe Seth who blogs (or alt least used to) over at CCK had worked for Social Services down in Pine Ridge. Would you choose that to be your dream job? Exactly. There are tons of others in custodial services, building trades, corrections, and law enforcement who are working evenings and holidays while the rest of us are enjoying our ham dinner.

Most don't do it for the pay. It's to feed their families and because they want to make a difference.

As these things start to get the notice they rightfully deserve, someone has to come along and screw it up for the rest of them. Someone has to make a mistake that tarnishes the image of dedicated and hardworking employees for everyone. If you ask me, those are the guys I hold in disdain.

KCCR News, and several other sources have the story this morning:
Two men, including one formerly of Pierre, have pled not guilty to seven counts of bribing of a public officer and one count of grand theft.

61-year-old Clayton R. Sonnenschein, now of Harrisburg and a former Department of Transportation official here in Pierre, and 62-year-old Douglas E. Andrews, a real estate broker from Rapid City, both entered the not guilty pleas this afternoon in Hughes County Circuit Court. A hearing for both defendants is scheduled for June 15th.

The two were indicted Friday by a Hughes County Grand Jury. Andrews is accused of paying bribes to Sonnenschein, who at the time was in charge of the DOT’s land purchases along Interstate 90 in the Rapid City area. Sonnenschein is accused of accepting the bribes as part of his role in buy right-of-way land for DOT projects.

Attorney General Larry Long says money did change hands on six of the seven bribery charges, totaling almost $47,400.00. Long says there apparently was no financial transaction on the final bribery charge.

The grand theft charges alleges the two men caused the state to buy land for $420,000 more than it was appraised.

Andrews served as the broker for a number of the properties involved and Sonnenschein received part of the commission from the sale. Long says he doesn't remember such a case involving a state employee during his time in state government. Long says it is a case involving a lot of different amounts of money.
Read it here at KCCR News. The Rapid City Journal also has the story:
Andrews is on temporary leave of absence from Coldwell Banker Lewis-Kirkeby-Hall Real Estate, a statement by the company said. The statement referred to the payments between Andrews and Sonnenschein as “referral fees” and said they were common in the real-estate industry. The release pointed out that Sonnenschein had an active real-estate broker’s license at the time of the transactions.

Dan McFarland, president of Coldwell Banker Lewis-Kirkeby-Hall, said there was no indication that the money paid by Andrews affected the land deals.

“In our preliminary review of the questioned transactions, it does not appear that the referral fee had any effect upon any transaction,” McFarland said. “Each party received the entire benefit of its agreement.”

Attorney General Larry Long had a different interpretation of the deals and a different term for “referral fee.”

“We’re not calling it a referral fee. That’s what the defense is calling it,” Long said. “We’re calling it a bribe, which is what the statute calls it.”

Long said he believed Andrews’ clients did get special treatment because of the payments to Sonnenschein.
Read that here.

If someone asks me which state employee deserves scorn heaped upon them, I'd say here's your example. Because the rest of them don't do it for personal enrichment.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Good for Clayton, karma finally caught up with him.
Anonymous said…
Who appointed this crook to oversee DOT land sales? Will they be held accountable?
PP said…
9:13 - that comment is gone, because it's completely inappropriate.

There's no indication his spouse has any involvement whatsoever.

I've always found her to be a pretty decent person.
Anonymous said…
How does a husband hide $50,000 from his wife?
Anonymous said…
When will they audit BIT - It's even worse there.

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