The staff was all tied up today and couldn't make it to the Earle Cabell for Terri Hodge's sentencing. But the guilty-plea-taking ex-state represenative got a year in federal prison, because U.S. District Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn didn't really buy her story that, look, it was all a tax-return whoopsie even after she apologized to the court. Per the U.S. Attorney's Office press release, which follows in full, "The Court further noted that Hodge was in a position of trust and her actions constituted an abuse of that trust."
Hodge has till June 22 to surrender herself to the Bureau of Prisons to begin serving her sentence. Don Hill and wife Sheila began serving their sentences today.
For those in need of a full recap of what role Hodge played in the City Hall Federal Corruption Case, jump. But in the end, Hodge will serve 12 months in prison for omitting from her tax returns a total of $10,908 in income.
FORMER TEXAS STATE REPRESENTATIVE TERRI HODGE SENTENCED TO 12 MONTHS IN FEDERAL PRISON
DALLAS -- Gladys E. Hodge, also known as "Terri Hodge," was sentenced this afternoon by U.S. District Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn to 12 months in prison, following her guilty plea on February 3, 2010, to fraud and false statements on an income tax return, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. In sentencing Hodge to the high end of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, the Court noted that while Hodge pleaded guilty to a tax offense, the Court did not view this solely as a tax matter. The Court further noted that Hodge was in a position of trust and her actions constituted an abuse of that trust.
Hodge was to go on trial in March 2010 on charges outlined in a 31-count indictment that charged 14 public officials and their associates with various offenses related to a bribery and extortion scheme involving affordable housing developments in the Dallas area. At today's sentencing hearing, Judge Lynn granted the government's motion to dismiss the remaining charges against Hodge in that indictment. Hodge must surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on June 22, 2010.
As a condition of her plea with the government, Hodge, who was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, District 100, in 1996, and re-elected to the same position in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008, agreed to resign her office and never seek or hold future public office. She announced her resignation on the day of her guilty plea and tendered her resignation to the Governor and Speaker of the House on March 8, 2010.
According to the factual resume filed in the case, over the course of her tenure as a state representative, Hodge supported Southwest Housing Development Company, Inc. (SWH) developments which, among others, included affordable housing developments in District 100. Co-defendant Cheryl L. Potashnik, the wife of co-defendant Brian L. Potashnik, a real estate developer and the founder, president and a principal of SWH, served in multiple roles in management and development of SWH, including that of chief operating officer and principal of SHW. Cheryl Potashnik pleaded guilty to bribery in connection with benefits given to Hodge by the Potashniks and SWH. Brian Potashnik also pleaded guilty to bribery of various public officials. A sentencing date has not been set for the Potashniks.
According to the factual resume filed, sometime on or before February 27, 2002, Hodge asked Brian Potashnik for assistance in the form of affordable housing for herself within the geographical boundaries of her political district. She indicated that she had financial problems and could not afford to pay the full rate for housing. Beginning in April 2002, the Potashniks made arrangements to provide Hodge with housing in one of SWH's market-rate affordable housing development units, which was located at Rosemont at Arlington Park in District 100. Hodge moved into the apartment on April 1, 2002, and renewed her lease, at the same rental rate of $200 per month, in November 2002 and again in March 2003. As reflected in the executed lease agreements, the market rate for this unit was $899 per month, and the difference in rent was paid by the Potashniks.
In addition, the Potashniks paid the utility bills on the apartment from their development funds and provided new carpeting for her house located on Abrams Road in Dallas. The carpeting cost $1,995 and was paid for by the construction arm of SWH, a company named Affordable Housing Construction, Inc.
The total value of the rental subsidies, utilities and carpeting provided to Hodge by the Potashniks from 2002 through 2005 was $32,541. None of this amount was included as income on the corresponding federal income tax returns for the tax years in which it was received by Hodge.
The plea documents further state that Hodge had additional income, in tax years 2001 through 2005, totaling $41,465, comprised, in part, of campaign contributions which she used for her own personal benefit and which she did not include as income on the corresponding federal income tax returns for the tax years in which she received it.
Hodge admits that she filed a U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, Form 1040, with the IRS, that she well knew omitted income of $6914 in 2001; $27,062 in 2002; $13,402 in 2003; $19,908 in 2004; and $6720 in 2005. Hodge further admits that as a result, she owes the following in taxes (excluding penalties and interest) to the IRS: $1,937 for 2001; $1,496 for 2002; $1,908 for 2003, $3,887 for 2004, and $1,680 for tax year 2005, for a grand total of $10,908.
The case was investigated by the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah Saldaña, Chad Meacham, Chris Stokes, Steven Fahey and Leigha Simonton prosecuted.
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