(DailyVantage.com) – An Indiana State Representative pleaded guilty to conspiracy in relation to corruption. The corruption scandal alleges that Representative Sean Eberhart took promised employment in exchange for aiding a gaming company. Eberhart pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge and could be sentenced to five years in federal prison. Eberhart may also be required to pay a fine of $250,000.
Eberhart held office for 16 years before his resignation and represented Indiana’s 57th House District. According to prosecutors, Eberhart took compensation and promises of employment in exchange for favorable policies in Indiana’s General Assembly. Prosecutors claim the corruption began in 2018.
In 2018, Spectacle Entertainment, a gaming company, attempted to purchase two different Lake Michigan casinos and the attached state licenses before relocating them to Gary, Indiana. For the purchase to be finalized, the Indiana state legislature and the governor’s office had to approve Spectacle Entertainment’s purchase.
A bill relating to Spectacle Entertainment’s purchase reached the House Committee on Public Policy the following year, a committee that featured Eberhart as a member. Prosecutors claim that Eberhart used his position on the committee overseeing transactions involving casinos to advocate for Spectacle Entertainment and approve the sale.
Eberhart also lowered the transfer fee attached to the project by $80 million and provided tax policies favoring Spectacle Entertainment. According to prosecutors, Eberhart advocated for Spectacle Entertainment in return for a promise of employment with the gaming company. The promised position paid a minimum of $350,000 per year.
Investigators obtained phone records and images of physical documents relating to the corruption and are currently looking into another involved party known simply as “Individual A.” Whether Individual A will face charges or not hasn’t been disclosed by the prosecution. Investigators also uncovered secret recordings of Eberhart discussing the transaction.
Indiana’s Speaker of the House, Todd Huston, discussed the corruption scandal and claimed that Eberhart’s conduct was antithetical to the wider state legislature’s goals. The corruption scandal isn’t the first time Spectacle Entertainment has colluded with members, as a similar case unfolded last year.
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