A Grovetown City Councilman was recently indicted on federal bribery charges.
Leland J. “Sonny” McDowell, is accused of offering a kick-back to a former Alabama Department of of Public Safety employee in 2007.
McDowell and James E. Potts, of Montgomery, Ala., face a four-count indictment alleging bribery related to a program receiving federal funds, according to a statement from the U.S. District Attorney’s Office Middle District of Alabama.
Part of Potts’ public safety job in July 2007 was helping the Alabama Department of Human Resources solicit bids for an electronic fingerprint system. McDowell is owner of Southern Detention Technologies Inc., which sells fingerprint machines.
The indictment accused McDowell of offering and Potts accepting a $1,700 check and $1 for every fingerprint scan run related to the DHR, according to the statement.
McDowell confirmed the indictment Wednesday, but declined to comment further.
If convicted, McDowell and Pottts face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
McDowell was elected to the City Council in late 2009. His four-year term ends at the end of next year.
He is the founder of the now-defunct Grovetown Merchants Association and championed the city’s ongoing effort to revitalize downtown Grovetown through the city’s Urban Redevelopment Plan.
Grovetown Mayor George James said he and other city leaders were shocked by the indictment.
McDowell will remain on City Council, as the indictment is only an accusation. If McDowell is convicted of or pleads guilty to charges, he’ll be removed from the council, James said.