Businessman who bribed Aaron Broussard to serve 20 months in prison

A Kenner businessman who pleaded guilty last year to bribing former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard was sentenced Thursday to 20 months in federal prison.

William Mack, 64, admitted that he paid Broussard $1,500 a month in exchange for the politician’s help steering work to his telecommunications firm, First Communications Co.

The arrangement may have worked out better for Broussard than it did Mack. According to court documents, Mack paid Broussard a total of $66,000 over the life of the agreement, which began around the time Broussard became parish president in 2004 and ended in November 2007. In exchange, Mack received $40,000 in work from the parish.

In 2008, Broussard attempted to steer a larger deal to Mack, but the gambit was unsuccessful, according to a summary of the government’s case against him. The two men sought to make the payoffs to Broussard appear legitimate by masking their purpose, the summary says.

Mack pleaded guilty in August 2012, a development that likely prompted Broussard to take a deal the next month. As a result of Mack’s cooperation, prosecutors sought leniency for him.

Federal sentencing guidelines recommended a prison term of between 30 and 37 months for Mack, according to his lawyer, Eddie Castaing. Prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown for a term of 15 months, saying that Mack’s plea helped them convict Broussard of the more serious charge of bribery. Broussard had also faced payroll fraud charges.

Brown wound up settling on a 20-month sentence for Mack.

Broussard in May began serving a 46-month stretch at a federal prison in North Carolina.

Mack’s sentencing closes the book on the government’s probe of corruption in Jefferson Parish government. Along with those of Mack and Broussard, the investigation elicited guilty pleas from Tim Whitmer, Broussard’s former chief administrative officer; Karen Parker, Broussard’s ex-wife who worked in his administration; and Tom Wilkinson, the former parish attorney. Whitmer, Parker and Wilkinson, all of whom cooperated in the investigation, were sentenced to probation.