Hodge Admits to Receiving More Than $30,000 From Potashniks, Using Campaign Contributions For "Personal Benefit"
The indictment against Terri Hodge has always looked much more damning than the evidence facing the rest of the gang involved in the City Hall corruption case, and it turns out that, well, it's all true. Hodge admitted as much in her factual résumé, which she signed Monday as part of her plea agreement with the feds.
The document details Hodge's request for financial assistance from Brian and Cheryl Potashnik in February 2002. She moved into Southwest Housing's Rosemont at Arlington Park and lived in an apartment with a market rate of $899 a month. But because Hodge was broke, she paid $200 a month, and "the difference in rent was paid by the Potashniks."
The Potashniks also paid her utility bills, and they spent nearly $2,000 for carpeting in Hodge's house. In the end, Hodge accepted $32,541 from the couple while she was writing letters of support for their affordable-housing projects.
Hodge also admits to using campaign contributions "for her own personal benefit" from 2001 to 2005, which was a chunk of $41,465 in dough she didn't report as income for tax purposes.
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Which, of course, leads us to Hodge's sweetheart deal. She pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and false statements on an income tax return in exchange for the dismissal of the other four counts of the same charge, one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, one count of forfeiture and all eight counts of bribery.
She faces a maximum of three years, while Don Hill faces a maximum of 95. Try to wrap your mind around that logic.
(Jump for three updates, including Hodge's list of supporters and statements from Hodge and her opponent in the Democratic primary, Eric Johnson.)
Update at 1 p.m.: Hodge's list of supporters, taken from her Web site, just in case any names start disappearing.
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Update at 2 p.m.: Hodge's statement, in which she only cops to making false statements by failing to report income on her personal tax returns. No mention of what the income was from.
STATEMENT BY STATE REPRESENTATIVE TERRI HODGE
(Dallas, Texas) Today, State Representative Terri Hodge released the following statement regarding the closing of her reelection campaign:
"I am sad to inform you that as of today I will end my campaign for the Democratic nomination for State Representative of the 100th Legislative District of Texas.
"I have reached an agreement with the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas whereby I will enter a plea of guilty to one criminal charge alleging that I made false statements by failing to report income on my personal tax returns. I freely admit that I violated the federal income tax laws in this regard, and I am prepared and willing to accept the consequences of my actions.
"As a result of my guilty plea to a criminal tax violation, I will not be able to continue to serve in the Texas House of Representatives. Therefore, I cannot in good conscience continue to seek reelection and I believe that the only appropriate action for me to take is to immediately terminate all of my campaign activities. I will immediately begin the process of closing the affairs of my district office in an orderly manner, and will resign my seat in the Texas House of Representatives effective at the time I am sentenced by the court.
"I want to take this opportunity to express my remorse to my colleagues in the Legislature, my friends, and my family for my actions. Most of all, I want to apologize to all the citizens of District 100 for letting them down. It has been an honor to serve you for these last 14 years and I am truly sorry that my actions will prevent me from providing a voice for you in the Legislature. My prayer is that my successor will stand up and fight for the people of our District in the future.
"Because of the ongoing legal proceedings in my case, I will not make any further public statement concerning this matter until the Court has assessed my sentence. I ask that the press respect my request that my family and I not be contacted for any further statement concerning this matter."
Update at 2:45 p.m.: Juan Ayala, Eric Johnson's campaign manager, just sent along this statement from Johnson.
ERIC JOHNSON ON TERRI HODGE RESIGNATION AND GUILTY PLEA
"As a longtime resident of House District 100, I want to thank Terri Hodge for her service to our district. My wife, Nakita, and I will continue to keep Ms. Hodge and her family in our prayers.
My only reason for running for state representative in House District 100 is to serve the people of our district by helping to bring about the change they want and need. I remain steadfast in that desire.
I promise residents of House District 100 I will work with local, state, and federal officials to accomplish our goals of improving our public schools, bringing more high-paying jobs to our district, and making our communities safer, regardless of whether or not these people supported me in the past.
Now is the time for us to put aside past differences and restore the public's trust in our ability to govern according to Democratic principles. It is my sincere hope that in response to today's events, we will come together as a party, as a district, and as a city to achieve the improvements House District 100 so desperately needs.
Voters in House District 100 still have a very important choice to make on March 2nd. I intend to campaign over the next 27 days exactly as I have for the past eight months - by knocking on voters' doors, calling them on the telephone, and meeting with them in the community to discuss our shared hopes and dreams for the future of our great district."
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