At trial, the prosecution proved that Swann’s home more than doubled in size after work done by the contractors. One contractor paid more than $140,000 for landscaping and upkeep at Swann’s home.
In 2002, an employee at the credit union Swann used told him that federal investigators had subpoenaed his bank records. After he learned of the secret investigation, several of the contractors sent Swann invoices for work done on his home and Swann took out a loan against his mother’s estate to pay some of the construction costs.
On invoices, Rast Construction did not use Swann’s name. Instead, they referred to him as “little big man.” During the trial, one witness said that was an inside joke at the company: Swann was “little big man” and his superior, Jefferson County Commissioner Chris McNair, was “big man.”
Last year, McNair also was convicted of participating in the bribery scheme. Before a second trial in February, he pleaded guilty to bribery charges. McNair is scheduled for sentencing in June. The investigation into the sewer bribery case returned indictments against 21 defendants, including several sewer contracting companies.
Swann is the latest defendant to be sentenced this week. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge L. Scott Coogler gave sewer contractor F.W. “Pat” Dougherty 51 months in prison and more than $4 million in fines and restitution. His company, Dougherty Engineering, was fined $3.8 million, even though it is now effectively out of business.
On Thursday, sewer contractor Bobby Rast received a sentence of 51 months in prison and a $2.5 million fine. His brother, Danny Rast, received 41 months in prison and a $1 million fine. Their company, Rast Construction, was fined $1.7 million.
Before sentencing Swann, Judge Coogler told the defendant that he did not believe he had shown much remorse and that public officials must be punished when they violate the public trust.
Throughout the sentencing, Swann sat stone-faced, rarely showing emotion.
— Kyle Whitmire