Friday, June 22, 2007

New Orleans: Ex-school board president pleads guilty to accepting bribe


Ellenese Brooks-Simms

Former Orleans Parish School Board President Ellenese Brooks-Simms pled guilty to accepting $140,000 in bribes from a local businessman in exchange for promoting and approving a software education program for the parish schools, her attorney announced Wednesday.

Brooks-Simms, 67. is cooperating with federal authorities, according to attorney Ralph Capitelli.

Simms was ordered to surrender her passport and was released on a $5,000 bond. She will be sentenced October 4. She faces a maximum of five years in jail and a fine of up to double what she was paid in bribes, approximately $280,000.

According to documents, Brooks-Simms received $140,000 in bribes and the unnamed businessman received a contract for the program that was worth $900,000. U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said that both Brooks-Simms and the businessman funneled the payments through several bank accounts to disguise their illegality.

The documents showed that in 2002, 2003 and 2004, Brooks-Simms approved contracts between the school board and JRL Enterprises to provide the OPSB with computer-related equipment, programs and services and that on three separate occasions she received payments in the amount of $40,000, $50,000 and $50,000.

While court documents did not name the businessman, an article in the New Orleans Times-Picayune quoted sources as saying it was Mose Jefferson, brother of indicted Congressman William Jefferson.

New Orleans Nagin For Bill Jefferson Seat

Brooks-Simms is a thief

Brooks-Simms secretly recorded conversations with Mose Jefferson


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