LANSING – Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced that his Public Integrity Unit (PIU) has secured the conviction of a former Pontiac Fire Chief charged with accepting bribes. Former Fire Chief Jeffrey Hawkins, 48, of Pontiac, was charged with two counts of Bribery of a Public Official. A PIU investigation found that Hawkins solicited a bribe from a local bar owner for fire code violations and accepted one cash payment from an undercover FBI investigator.
“Public safety officials who accept bribes and ignore their duty to protect the public are doubly dangerous,” said Schuette. “To restore public integrity and protect public safety, this dangerous corruption must come to an end. We will hold corrupt officials accountable, wherever they are found. The message is clear. If you break the law, there are consequences.”
Hawkins solicited a $1,000 bribe in exchange for not citing Little David’s Island Bar for building fire code violations and other city code violations that existed at the time. He subsequently accepted a $500 cash payment from an undercover FBI investigator in April 2010.
Hawkins was convicted by a jury of Accepting a Bribe as a Public Officer, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine, plus disqualification from public office for life before Judge Michael Warren in the Oakland County Circuit Court. Hawkins will be sentenced by Judge Warren on June 5, 2013 at 1:00 pm at Oakland County’s Circuit Court.
Hawkins was charged with a second count of Accepting a Bribe as a Public Officer, and the jury deadlocked on that count, resulting in Judge Warren declaring a mistrial. Schuette is reviewing whether to pursue a new trial on the second charge.
Since the formation of the Public Integrity Unit in 2011, Schuette has filed 233 charges and secured 100 convictions against 43 defendants.