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HCC Trustee Chris Oliver pleads guilty to bribery charges

Hoo boy.

Chris Oliver

A Houston Community College trustee faces up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to bribery, federal prosecutors said Friday.

The case of 53-year-old Christopher W. Oliver, 53, of Houston was unsealed by U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore on Friday, according to a news release from the office of U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez. Oliver was originally charged in March 2017 and pleaded guilty on May 15.

At Oliver’s plea hearing, it was revealed in open court that he had met with another person on several occasions at restaurants and coffee shops in Houston. Oliver admitted accepting cash in exchange for promises to use his position to help another person secure contracts with HCC, the news release said.

From December 2010 to about August 2013, Oliver allegedly “attempted to obstruct, delay and affect in any way and degree commerce and the movement of articles and commodities in commerce by extortion,” according to court documents.

Also, Oliver agreed between May 2015 and May 2016, to accept cash payments and Visa gift cards totaling $12,000 as a reward for actions that he would take as an HCC trustee, court records said.

Oliver may have to pay a financial judgement of nearly $90,000 because of his crimes, court records show.

What a mess. I’ve interviewed Oliver twice before, once in 2011 for his previous HCC campaign, and once in 2015 when he was a candidate for City Council At Large #1. We can at least be grateful he didn’t win that race. Oliver’s term expires at the end of this year. I don’t know if there were any candidates lining up for that seat, but I’m sure there will be now. The question I have now is at what point does Oliver step down or get removed from the HCC Board? The next Board meeting is August 10, Oliver’s sentencing is August 28, and the Chron story quotes Board President Eva Loredo saying “we will wait for court proceedings to be complete before we make any further statement”, which doesn’t help answer my question. The sooner he’s out of there the better, and if the Board chooses to fill his seat I’d greatly prefer it be with someone who will not be on the November ballot. In the meantime, all I can add to this is “ugh!”. The Texas Monitor and KTRK have more.

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10 Comments

  1. neither here nor there says:

    If I recall correctly this blog has been supportive of Oliver in the past. There in lies the problem with the Democratic Party in Harris County, they keep their eyes, ears, and mouth closed.

  2. Supportive in what way? He wasn’t who I voted for in 2015, and I had no opinion on his race in 2011. If you’re saying I should be more willing to publish negative, off-the-record things people say about other people, I’m afraid I’m going to have to disagree with you.

  3. neither here nor there says:

    He was not in your district so you could not vote for him.

    Dave Wilson is not in your district and that has not prevented you from publishing negative things about him.

    From my understanding there is another trustee under investigation and it is not Dave Wilson.

  4. As noted in the post, Oliver ran for At Large #1 in 2015, so yes, I could have voted for him. As for Wilson, surely you are not suggesting that I should limit my commentary to people who are on my ballot in a given election cycle. As to whether there is another trustee who is under investigation, when there is something to write about, I’ll write about it. Until then, even politicians receive the presumption of innocence.

  5. Flypusher says:

    “If I recall correctly this blog has been supportive of Oliver in the past. There in lies the problem with the Democratic Party in Harris County, they keep their eyes, ears, and mouth close.”

    I haven’t been reading this blog for that long, but one thing I have noticed is that Charles will not hesitate to smack one of his own if the facts come out to show that they deserve a smack. Even if there had been support for Oliver expressed in the past, if it’s prior to any knowledge/occurrence of bribe taking, why should that merit criticism?

  6. Flypusher (or whoever you are),

    I think Kuffner is a fantastic blogger. Even if he had voted for and or promoted Oliver I don’t have a problem with him doing either. However, the day Kuffner ever says something negative about Queen Parker is the day I gladly say lunch is on me.

    Here is link to the current HCC board members.

    http://www.hccs.edu/district/about-us/boardoftrustee/

  7. neither here nor there says:

    Kuffner is the best blogger in Houston. But he does not always fair or just in his blog, I guess they are friends, there is one that is employed at TSU who plead guilty that is often praised in this blog. He used to be an HCC Trustee.

    This is not the first time that Oliver has been mentioned in unkind light. Including his disappearing campaign funds, he did get a reprimand for that,

    https://www.ethics.state.tx.us/sworncomp/2013/31305112.pdf

    Fly allegations of taking money had been mentioned before, but Oliver was in the “In” crowd.

    I agree with you Paul as to Parker.

  8. C.L. says:

    The need to continually and continuously revive old foes for political gain or to prove a point (i.e. The ineptitude of past political opponents) appears to NOT to be party exclusive. If you’re a Trump supporter, it’s Hillary that’s evil. If you’re a Turner supporter, it’s Annice. At some point we’ll agree to hold CURENT elected officials accountable, instead of resorting to channel dredging to show the other just how polluted the water was.

  9. PDiddie says:

    I’d be inclined to agree that Charles is the best blogger in Houston … if I didn’t find that the Houston Chronicle or the Texas Tribune write about 75% of his posts. /snark

    Not snark: “Hoo boy” and “We (?) can at least be grateful” (Oliver wasn’t elected to city council) don’t meet the definition of ‘smack’ , at least not the one in my various dictionaries. If you want that, you’ll have to read somebody else’s blog. =)

  10. neither here nor there says:

    PDiddie he may use those articles as reference, but you do the same but differently and he has one big advantage he does publish things with which he does not agree with, that is more than I can say for Brains and Eggs.

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